A new digital innovation hub in Kilkenny City can drive the digital transformation of Europe's Agri-Food sector, boosting innovation and growth in the region, while burnishing Ireland’s global leadership in agricultural technology, according to EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.
The Commissioner expressed these sentiments today at the launch of the Precision Agriculture Centre of Excellence (PACE). The new hub gives Ireland’s agri-tech companies, most of them SMEs and micro-enterprises, direct access to best-in-class technologies and research, as well as cascade funding.
PACE is an initiative of the TSSG at Waterford Institute of Technology and will leverage the Institute’s leadership in agriculture and Information Technology research and innovation. It aims to close the gap between research and deployment, with a focus on using existing technologies which are often deployed in other sectors.
PACE will serve agri-food processors, farm advisory services, companies selling services and products to the agri sector, and agri-tech SME’s and start-ups and rural-based industries which have the potential to transform into higher technology and higher value businesses. PACE will also serve regulatory, compliance and policy authorities by providing a technology resource to support their mission.
Speaking at the launch of the Precision Agriculture Centre of Excellence (PACE), Commissioner Hogan said, "This impressive new hub gives Ireland’s agri-tech companies, most of them SMEs and micro-enterprises, direct access to best-in-class technologies and research, as well as cascade funding. Smart use of knowledge, research and innovation is the main source of productivity growth in the EU agri-food sector. The digitisation of the European economy requires the full integration of digital innovations across all sectors of the economy, including agriculture and food."
He added, "PACE is an excellent strategic fit for the South-East region where agriculture accounts for 43% of total employment. This, coupled with the presence of leading global agri-food companies headquartered in the region and a growing base of agri-tech companies, confirms the pivotal role PACE can play in growing the region’s economy."