Planas: "Digital transformation is not an option, it is a necessity for the agri-food sector"

El Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has assured today that the digital transformation "is not an option, it is a necessity of the times we are living ”for the competitiveness and sustainability of the agri-food sector. The minister has reported the launch of the second Action Plan of the Spanish Strategy for the Digitization of the agri-food sector, which includes investments of 62 million euros with 20 measures aimed at promoting technological development throughout the value chain in the period 2021-2023.

Luis Planas has participated today, in Lleida, in the inauguration of the 5th edition of the Forum to Promote Digital Transformation in the Agrifood Sector (Datagri 2021), where he has emphasized the strategic nature of the Spanish agri-food sector, which contributes 10% to the national GDP and generates more than 2,8 million jobs, direct and indirect, in addition to having a great export vocation, with a value of 58.210 million euros in the rolling year until September 2021.

The minister explained that the digitization strategy has as objectives reducing the digital divide between urban and rural areas, promoting the use of data in agriculture and supporting the business development of new business models in rural areas. In this area, he has referred, for example, to the Agroimpulso initiative, launched by the ministry in collaboration with the National Innovation Company (ENISA) for the granting of credits under favorable conditions to agri-food SMEs that undertake technology-based projects. It is estimated that the multiplier effect of these initiatives may produce investments of the order of 90 million euros.

The minister has assured that the digital transformation, in addition to a necessity, "is not a future possibility, something that is going to happen tomorrow, but something that we are already experiencing today." He has highlighted the initiatives already underway and has ensured that the agricultural sector is not only not backward, but that it is at the forefront and that in Spain "we are facing these changes with an open and inclusive mindset". “We have the tools, but we have the most important thing, which are men and women who want to carry out this transition process. The Government is going to help in this change, which must be seen as an opportunity ”, he reiterated.

The minister has stressed that innovation and digitization are "fundamental" elements to achieve the great objectives of the agri-food sector, sustainability and profitability. Thus, he highlighted that it will have more than 53.000 million euros in aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) and the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Program (PRTR) to improve its competitiveness.

The minister stressed that the use of data and the use of digital solutions are two of the priority axes of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) and will serve as a lever to consolidate the environmental and digital transformation of the agri-food sector. Specifically, it has pointed out that the Component 3 of the PRTR, which is managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), has an endowment of 1.051 million euros and provides for a set of 11 investment projects.

Thus, to modernize irrigation systems and make them more efficient, investments worth 563 million euros are contemplated. In Catalonia, 6 actions are planned, with a budget of about 69 million euros. Planas has also mentioned the investments to boost the sustainability and competitiveness of agriculture and livestock, with a budget of 345 million euros.

And a third group specifically aimed at promoting digitization in the agri-food sector, endowed with 38 million euros.

Similarly, the minister explained that the agri-food sector may benefit from other components of the PRTR, such as the support for connectivity and digital entrepreneurship promoted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation; or the Agrifood Strategic Project (PERTE), with investments for the digitization of the sector that will improve its sustainability, competitiveness, and profitability.

It has also shown the commitment of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with training and advice, so that knowledge reaches everyone and no one is left behind. Thus, it has referred to initiatives such as the Competence Center, a training project for trainers launched by MAPA in collaboration with the universities of Córdoba and Politécnica de Madrid; the Digital Exploitation Notebook, an instrument that will simplify the management of the CAP in agricultural and livestock operations; or the predictive tool for the citrus and stone fruit sector (Frutika). For the minister, support for training will make it easier for farmers, ranchers, technicians and advisers who work in the agri-food sector to incorporate digital technology into the daily development of their activity.

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