SmartAgriHubs COVID-19 taskforce

Find out everything you need to know about the SmartAgriHubs COVID-19 taskforce, the actions we are taking, and why. Moreover, get inspired by a message from our project coordinator Dr. Ir. George Beers.


Marlijn Henskens

Newsletter editor

Schuttelaar & Partners

SmartAgriHubs COVID-19 task force, the community responds!  

Over the past few months our whole world has changed. We live and work differently, and the agri-food community as well has had to deal with a lot of challenges due to the new situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In dialogue with the European commission SmartAgriHubs has launched a COVID-19 taskforce to contribute in the battle against this pandemic. This newsletter is part of the package of actions we are taking under the umbrella of this taskforce.

In this edition you will read about the challenges and opportunities that our community is tackling with great fervour. Our partners, DIHs and CCs are contributing to fight this crisis, all within their own means. We are very proud to showcase some of their stories in this special edition of the newsletter that we have made for you. You will read about how they deploy digital means to tackle real life issues like food supply struggles, Artificial Intelligence models for disease diagnostics and alternative ways of knowledge sharing.


In this newsletter you will read about the challenges and opportunities that our community is tackling with great fervour.

Not only did we compile this newsletter with your inputs, but we started the process by creating a special page on our website to inform and mobilize our ecosystem. COVID-19 does not wait, neither do we! Therefore, we have asked for your valuable expertise. We have encouraged you to share your experiences and solutions on our Challenge & Solution Canvas. Great examples have come in from the community and it is with pride that we have read about all the different ways our ecosystem is helping in the fight against COVID-19. We have read about a Pan-European Hackathon to help tackle the coronavirus in which over 20k people participated. Also, we have read about how smart intra row weeders can help reduce the dependence on seasonal workers, a problem that the whole agri-food sector is facing now due to the closing of borders.

We took all this input onboard and organized a special COVID-19 Webinar which you can re-watch on YouTube. You will find more about this, further on in this newsletter. You will also read about the Open Call which is aimed at mitigating the consequences of the current pandemic. Read more about it in this special edition to get the scoop!

Lastly, we would like to say a big thank you to our committed community! You help feed us, keep us healthy and make the digitalization of the agri-food sector a reality. We hope you will enjoy this newsletter and read with interest about the response of our community to COVID-19, and we hope you and your loved ones are happy and healthy!

George Beers on the topic of COVID-19

Dr. Ir. George Beers

Project Coordinator SmartAgriHubs

This current pandemic has a huge impact on every aspect of life, the agri-food sector is facing serious challenges today. It is my opinion that digitalisation will be a very important weapon in this fight against COVID-19 and the challenges it poses.

We can already see all sorts of ideas and solutions popping up all over Europe, bright minds that come up with great solutions to tackle and mitigate the current crisis. In Europe, we are all dealing with this crisis but the solutions can only be implemented effectively at local and regional levels. In this respect I dare to say that the SmartAgriHubs project is perfectly designed for this as we aim to transfer knowledge, experiences and digital solutions from Competence Centres to regions and the agri-food communities surrounding our Digital Innovation Hubs.

This is why SmartAgriHubs is standing up to be an active party in the mitigation of COVID-19 consequences in the European agri-food sector. We can contribute as a community with ideas, our network and resources, we feel a moral obligation to approach the challenges and help the agri-food sector.

The most important instrument we have is our Innovation Portal as this is a one-stop-shop where people from the agri-food sector can come to exchange knowledge and solutions. It is really a two-way communication tool where the demand for knowledge and good solutions is connected with the supply of good ideas and experiences all over Europe. It is about ‘connecting the dots’; end-users can approach their Digital Innovation Hub which has access to proven solutions and knowledge available all over Europe. And on the other hand, Competence Centres and Digital Innovation Hubs can bring in and promote their solutions in the innovation Portal. By connecting supply and demand at European level, the Innovation Portal will be an important tool in the worldwide challenge that this pandemic poses on us.