Agricultural technology experts from across the globe are gathering in Waterford again today for the second of three days which mark the launch of a project which aims to digitally transform Europe’s agri-food sector and support vibrant rural areas.
The €17 million programme, funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020, will involve 25 deployment sites, 6,000 farmers and over 38,000 devices and sensors being deployed, spanning 318,000 hectares in 18 countries, including Ireland. It includes 60 partners and together, they will run 20 different pilot programmes across five agricultural sectors.
DEMETER will show how field and plant sensors, weather stations, monitoring and control devices and so much more will help support sustainable and safe farming and food production systems. Through its multi-actor approach, the programme also sets to improve farmer wellbeing and generally support farmers in precision decision making, those behind the project say.
An open call for interested farmers, technology solution providers and other interested parties will be launched next year, according to project co-ordinator, Kevin Doolin, Director of Innovation at the Telecommunications, Software and Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology. It will have a €1 million budget.
Commenting on the project, Doolin said, "DEMETER will demonstrate the real-life potential of advanced interoperability in the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies across the value chain in multiple agri-food operational environments, involving different production sectors, production systems and farm sizes."
He added, "DEMETER also displays how an integrated approach to business, behaviour and technology can support farmers and the sector. It provides further opportunities, including new business models on the farm and in the wider agri-food economy, while also helping to safeguard Europe’s precious natural resources."