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News | 06 Dec 2023

Digital Transition: Long–term Implications for EU Farmers and Rural Communities

Digital transition: Long-term implication for EU farmers and rural communities

Explore how the digital transition can bolster the resilience of agriculture and rural areas amid future disruptions. 

Successfully managing the green and digital transitions is a crucial factor that could increase the resilience and strategic autonomy of the EU and shape its future. Yet the digitalisation of agriculture and rural areas raises vital questions about winners and losers, costs, benefits, and long-term implications.

The digital transition will occur in a rapidly changing world faced with climate change, environmental degradation, geopolitical instability, shifting supply networks, and evolving consumer demand. This study's foresight scenarios suggest that digitalisation can catalyse transformation, aiding in coping with shocks, knowledge acquisition, community building, and system-related thinking. But at the same time, it can also reinforce inequalities and introduce rigidities. Therefore, digitalisation support should aim to create sustainable food systems and robust, connected, and prosperous rural areas and communities.

A sound digital transition strategy should promote agricultural and rural resilience, green transition, digital citizenship for farmers and communities, and overall well-being. Digitalisation should uphold values like trust, equality, power, sovereignty, and care. Its execution should prioritise collaboration, accessibility, people-centric design, and circularity. Key enablers for a successful digital transition include capacity building for digital skills, fostering a robust digital ecosystem, investing in infrastructure and connectivity, and securing sufficient funding. 


Read the Science for Policy Report

This foresight exercise aimed to explore the interplay between digital transition, policies and the resilience of the agricultural sector and rural areas, against the backdrop of potential disruptive and transformative changes. Based on a participatory foresight process, the report presents the outcomes of this exploration, proposing building blocks for an effective EU digital transition strategy for agriculture and rural areas supported by a hands-on policymaker’s toolkit. 

Read the report


Follow the launch of the report

The report will be launched in the first- ever EU Agri-Digital conference taking place in Brussels on 8 December under the umbrella of the # organised by the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about to the main findings of the report and follow the panel discussion on how digitalisation and data can shape the future of agriculture and rural communities in Europe.  


Watch the short video about the study



Building or improving a digital transition strategy?

The EU Policy Lab’s toolkit can help decision makers engage in strategic conversations about the implications of digital transition for farmers and rural communities.

Explore the toolkit