If you are interested in experiencing the webinar yourself, you can re-watch it here!
The Webinar in a nutshell
In these uncertain times normal work meetings and events have to be moved to the digital frontier. A scenario which befits SmartAgriHubs as the project that connects the dots of agricultural digitalization. Of course, the context of COVID-19 is not one to celebrate. The crisis we are going through is unprecedented, and so must be the response. It is in this context that the European Commission has asked all of its projects to set up a special COVID-19 task force to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. For SmartAgriHubs, the first objective was to set up a special COVID-19 webinar in a week.
The SmartAgriHubs Team immediately cut to the chase by launching a sustained general outreach campaign over social media, the SAH website, and through MailChimp. Moreover, the whole SmartAgriHubs ecosystem was called upon to share their stories of successes achieved and challenges faced as a result of the crisis. And respond they did. Thereby providing us with a lot of material to cover during the webinar.
The agenda of the webinar
The goal of the webinar was to help our community share common experiences throughout the agri-food value chain with their peers. Therefore, half of the webinar was dedicated to a panel discussion about the COVID-19-induced challenges and solutions for the agri-food community. Here issues such as the lack of seasonal workers were discussed – the agri-food sector faces a massive challenge with borders being closed just when they need help from seasonal workers on the farms and in the factories. Another challenge flagged was the necessity to assure the safety of our food production in a crisis like this – an issue digitalization can address. In fact, many of the challenges shared covered the whole agri-food supply chain. Among the solutions mentioned on the forum there was: the use of smart technology to produce more with less labour and several suggestions around supporting local value chains and incentivizing consumers to buy locally from farmers, and of course pan-European collaboration to achieve this.
Other parts were dedicated to exploring the overall EU response. This panel discussion involved distinguished guests, including Petros Kokkalis MEP, the Secretary General of CEMA Jerome Bandry, as well as Dutch potato farmer Jacob van den Borne, who all shared their perspectives with our audience. This included a detailed explanation by Jacob van de Borne on how disruptive this crisis has been for frites potato farmers. MEP Kokkalis concluded that “Europe needs to lead the way towards a green recovery”, to which it was added that SmartAgriHubs will play a key part in its realization. To that end, we also announced a new SmartAgriHubs open call where we invited our ecosystem to come with proposals on how digital services and products can help the agri-food sector overcome this crisis.
The webinar was a raging success. In a matter of one week we were able to come up with an elaborate programme, invite high-level speakers, and gather an audience of well over 150 agri-food stakeholders both from within the SmartAgriHubs project, and beyond. Most importantly, the first step in SmartAgriHubs’ contribution to the pan-European COVID-19 effort was launched. Thank you.
If you would like to view the PPT used, click here.
Most importantly, the fight against COID-19 continues on our Innovation Portal Forum, feel free to contribute your ideas, solutions, and challenges here