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Germany invests € 60 million in digital agriculture

The German federal government has commissioned a feasibility study on data platforms in agriculture.

The German Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner has commissioned a feasibility study on data platforms in agriculture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering based in Kaiserslautern has won the contract. The Federal Ministry invests € 428,000 in this study. Results will be available in autumn 2020.

Morever, € 60 million euros have been earmarked by the German government for digitalisation in agriculture by 2022.

Digital test and experimentation fields

A significant part of this money is currently being used to establish digital test and experimentation fields, in order to find out in practice how digitalisation on the ground can function.

According to Julia Klöckner, farmers expect that a smooth exchange of agricultural data between the products of different equipment manufacturers is guaranteed without any loss of time. Data platforms are gaining importance here.

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"It is important to clarify that appropriate data platforms require political monitoring and protection,", says Germany's Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner. - Foto: EPA
"It is important to clarify that appropriate data platforms require political monitoring and protection,", says Germany's Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner. - Foto: EPA

Data security

“Digitalisation in agriculture means working more efficiently and better protecting the soil, air and water,” says Julia Klöckner. “But this progress also raises questions: Are there suitable interfaces for merging different digital data? Who protects data sovereignty and farmers’ independence vis-à-vis service providers or agricultural technology providers? Who collects and uses data and ensures data security? Who owns collected data? It is important to clarify that appropriate data platforms require political monitoring and protection. The feasibility study that I commissioned makes a contribution to this.”

Questions

The study examines the following questions:

  • How to build a digital data platform in a meaningful way so that the state can best support farmers?
  • Which relevant data can be provided to the farmer by the state for free and in a practical (machine-readable) form?
  • What do digital data for agriculture look like so that they can be used for different requirements (standards for data formats or open interfaces)
  • What potential does the disclosure of interfaces, for example to countries’ digital application systems, offer?
  • What data protection measures need to be ensured for state-owned platforms?

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