The EO4AGRI consortium today announces the finalization of the EO4AGRI project after two years of work with the objective of boosting the digitalization of the agriculture sector through the use of Earth Observation information on the monitoring processes. Coordinated by Atos and gathering 11 partners from across Europe and covering a diverse range of organizations (large companies, SMEs, research centers, and national payment agencies), EO4AGRI is part of Horizon 2020, the European Union Research and Innovation programme.

The Common Agricultural Policy is currently undergoing a series of major reforms, including the system of CAP payments. Although this reform will provide benefits to both farmers and payment agencies, the payment agencies are required to adopt new working methods, such as the use of remote monitoring mechanisms (Earth Observation (EO) data from COPERNICUS) as a substitute for on-the-spot inspections or the application of EO data to enable payment for performance instead of paying for compliance.

These changes are happening at a dizzying pace and different agencies are at different levels of readiness for the adoption of these new technologies and new ways of working. In this context, the EO4AGRI project raised to improve their capacity on operational agriculture monitoring from local to global levels based on information derived from Copernicus satellite observation data and through the exploitation of associated geospatial and socio-economic information services.

Thus, EO4AGRI enlarged and further systematized the identified gaps related to the utilization of EO in Agri-Food, related public services and needs of the financial sector, including international policy and coordination programmes.

EO4AGRI assists the implementation of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with special attention to the CAP2020 reform, by working closely with four strategic sectors (agro-industry; public sector; finance and insurance industry and; food security) to develop a series of tools that will help them during this transition.

These tools include a whitepaper, a strategic research agenda, a policy roadmap and a collaboration framework, on one hand, containing recommendations on how to enable the implementation of CAP reforms based on next-generation COPERNICUS data and related services and on the other hand, ensuring that the various related future European research programmes (i.e., Horizon Europe, Life+) as well as other transversal initiatives promoted by the EC – such as the New Green Deal, Open Data and the Digital Twin Earth – will meet the requirements of the sectors in the years to come.

According to Miguel Ángel Esbrí, Project Manager at Atos and Coordinator of the EO4AGRI EU project: “The work carried out during the project has allowed us to better understand the current gaps and needs of the different stakeholders involved the whole Copernicus data value chain. The analysis, recommendations, and conclusions provided by the project will support the preparation of the future European capacity for improving agriculture monitoring ”.

The EO4AGRI consortium brought to the project an extensive knowledge of Earth Observation and Agriculture topics. More specifically, some team members are actively involved in the development of a Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) infrastructure, but also working in the domain of agriculture downstream services and even other partners represent entire networks, which has facilitated the outreach to and involvement of targeted stakeholders.