Panel discussion on “Agricultural innovation – aspirations, opportunities, barriers”

Rural areas account for 90% of the territory of Poland and are inhabited by 40% of the population. These areas have a great potential for natural inputs needed to develop renewable energy sources (RES). At the same time, it is necessary to support innovations in agriculture that make it possible to apply modern technological solutions and to transition to Agriculture 4.0.

A proposal that could affect energy independence and increase interest in RES development in rural areas is the opportunity to create energy cooperatives. This solution allows consumers to participate in the production of energy and its efficient use, and to spread the investment costs over a larger number of entities. With preferential energy billing and an exemption from part of the charges, energy cooperatives can be an important step towards energy independence for rural areas.

On the other hand, agricultural micro-biogas plants are an ideal complement for small and medium-sized farms, which can manage the waste generated during production, generate the energy necessary for production and obtain fertiliser in the form of digestate. Micro-biogas plants also reduce the environmental impact of livestock manure, and reduce atmospheric methane emissions and soil nitrogenation.

Currently, twenty-five agricultural micro-biogas plants with a total electrical capacity of 735.60 kW are in operation in Poland. The National Support Centre for Agriculture (KOWR) supports their development, under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. We invite you to training courses for small and medium-sized farms.

The Passporting of Polish Food project is an innovative opportunity for developing the Polish agri-food sector. Implementing a digital food chain monitoring tool will strengthen the brand and lend credibility to the quality and safety of Polish agri-food goods in Poland and abroad. The project aims to improve the image of food and support the sustainable development of the agri-food industry.

A system for the effective tracking and tracing of agri-food product information in supply chains has been designed to make product information available to consumers. The pilot project runs from 2021 to 2022 in the beef, pork and potato markets. The system is scheduled to be implemented between 2023 and 2024.

The application of satellite remote sensing within the Satellite Crop Monitoring System project framework allows for monitoring of large-area crop production and is a chance for a qualitative change in Polish agriculture. The innovative project involves designing, constructing, and developing an IT platform using a synergy of satellite, meteorological, soil, and statistical data to monitor crops across the country.

The main objective of the system is to provide farmers with crop support data on fields. In the age of Agriculture 4.0, producers will be able to react immediately to weather changes and apply appropriate agrotechnical measures, which should translate into an increase in the competitiveness of farms. The system will also provide information on expected yields and agricultural production for a selected area (field, municipality, district, voivodeship, country), facilitate the estimation of agriculture losses, and optimise the compensation payment process. Predicting yields will translate into strengthening the country’s food security.

Małgorzata Gośniowska-Kola
Director General of The National Support Centre for Agriculture