Small and medium farms must have access to good broadband – Hogan
Member States need to address poor rural broadband speed to ensure small to medium-sized farms are allowed to take part in the agri-tech revolution, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has said.
Speaking at the recent AgTech Nexus Conference in Dublin, Commissioner Hogan outlined that the agri-tech revolution cannot be limited to just large farms or it will not happen.
“46pc of our rural areas have good speed broadband compared to 80pc of their counterparts in urban areas having high-speed broadband.
“There is a big gap, and we have to close that gap,” Mr Hogan said.
“We have some ways we can push them, but at end of the day, it’s a matter for Member States to grasp this opportunity — otherwise they are going to be falling behind.
“The future is happening now. All farmers need to be able to take advantage of digital opportunities to develop opportunities to facilitate the transition to more sustainable farming.
“This agenda must be addressed for all farmers, and not just a few.
“Let’s do it now and do so in a more integrated way than in the past,” he added.
Mr Hogan said that the Farm Sustainability tool under CAP post-2020 will allow farmers to manage nutrient and soil issues, and that it is essential that small farmers have the broadband access to use the application.
“It will provide a unique opportunity for small farmers because we don’t want to see small-and-medium farmers unable to take advantage of the agri-tech revolution, and therefore measures will be a stepping stone for farmers to use more advanced digital
“It’s very important for increased use of precision farming and to assess the state of soils.”
Mr Hogan told delegates at the Convention Centre in Dublin that under CAP post-2020, Member States will be required to outline detailed plans on how they will invest in digital
technology — and if they fail to do so, they will not receive all their funding
which, he said, should “concentrate the minds” on investing in technology.