Agroforum Mare Balticum as a rural development forum acting as a bridge between the East and West will take place for the sixth time and the need for such a medium has become very clear. Our forum enables three-level discussions between policymakers, research institutions and entrepreneurs with the help of the main international organisations in the sector.

The focus this year will be on the digital future of global agriculture. The topic has been in the spotlight for several years and the European Commission is currently developing its digital single market strategy to make the agricultural sector and rural areas in Europe more digitalised and data-empowered. However, there is still a need for clear solutions.

Digitalisation of agriculture helps to produce more with less and provides transparency for all citizens and an ease of bureaucratic systems for producers. Thus, the main focus of the conference will be on the digital data produced in the agricultural sector and the possibilities, limitations and rights in its usage. Huge amounts of data is created daily in agriculture, animal husbandry and food production regarding soil characteristics, nutrient and fertiliser use, plant protection, yield, animal welfare, health, productivity, the origin of resources, use of additional substances and so on. With this, one critical question remains – who owns the data? Is it the farmer or the technology company? In addition, the usage rights of this data are still unclear. Should the use of data be priced and by whom? The in-depth discussions of the conference will look into innovation, smart solutions and digitalisation of global agriculture, and how it influences our society in general.

The forum will involve the countries bordering the Baltic Sea (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Russia) and the Eastern Partnership countries (Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Georgia). Kazakhstan, one of the biggest grain producers in the world, and China, a development leader in many sectors, have also been invited.

The forum will take place during the annual international Agricultural Fair Maamess XXVI, which our participants will have a chance to visit. It is the biggest agricultural and rural development fair in our region, bringing together more than 500 exhibitors and more than 40 000 visitors from 10 countries.

Read more: Shaping the digital (r)evolution in agriculture by EIP-AGRI

How will digitalization change agriculture?

European Commission: Digitising agriculture and food value chains