Newsletter 14, October 2014 by the EIP-AGRI Service Point
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Inspirational ideas:
Creating a buzz in Romanian greenhouses

What's small, a hard worker, and doesn't need to take a break? Possibly the most model employees in the agricultural world? If you guessed bumblebees then you would be right! An innovative practice for pollinating greenhouse plants has been creating a buzz in Arad County, Romania.
Greenhouse grown tomatoes in this area usually use a hormone spraying process to stimulate the fruit to grow. But this painstaking method requires a lot of time, effort and expense and the results have never been quite what the farmers have hoped. So they have enlisted help from teams of hard-working bumblebees, buying them in boxes and releasing them into the greenhouses to pollinate all the plants at once. This practice has already shown very positive results and promises for a rich harvest.
Read more here. your website!

The new EIP-AGRI website launched in September offers you the possibility to sign up as a registered user. Thanks to your input, it will become an essential place of exchange for innovation in European agriculture and forestry.
Register here to contribute to the network and take advantage of its resources to develop your ideas for innovation:

Three new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups ready to begin

The experts for the three new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups have been selected. They will hold their first meetings in November and December where they will discuss the following questions, identifying promising innovative practices and ideas:
  • Ecological Focus Areas: How can Ecological Focus Areas, more specifically landscape features and buffer strips and their management, contribute to the profitability of crop production? For more information and to follow the progress of this group – click here.
  • Innovative Short Supply Chains: How to stimulate growth of short food supply chains in Europe, both in terms of numbers of producers involved and volumes traded, to increase farm income? For more information and to follow the progress of this group – click here.
  • Integrated Pest Management to combat Soil Borne Diseases: How to suppress soil-borne diseases (fungi and nematodes) in vegetables and arable crops and how to enhance cross-fertilisation between different crops and agricultural systems? For more information and to follow the progress of this group – click here.

EIP-AGRI Seminar: Steps for launching Operational Groups

DG AGRI is organising a seminar named 'Launching Operational Groups and EIP Networking in Rural Development Programmes'. The overall aim of the seminar is to support Rural Development Programme (RDP) Managing Authorities in the next practical steps for launching EIP-AGRI Operational Groups with RDP 2014-2020 funding. The event will focus on two key topics:
  • How to organise a good call for Operational Groups (OGs) (understanding of EC legal texts and guidelines)?
  • How to organise EIP-AGRI networking at national/regional level with effective links to innovation support services and advisory services focusing on innovation?
Please note participation at this event is by invitation only.
Date and location: 18 and 19 November 2014, Brussels, Belgium.


80 people from different countries exploring protein crop profitability together

'How to make protein crops profitable in the EU?’ DG AGRI has invited 80 key players to work on this very question. People involved in protein production: producers, researchers, food and feed industry, governments, NGOs and farmers from different European countries will join in an interactive workshop to inspire change and increase profitability for protein crops in the EU.
The participants will review the ideas produced by the EIP-AGRI Focus Group on protein crops, and explore opportunities for collaboration between people all along the value chain, from farmers growing protein crops, to feed companies and consumers.
Please note participation at this event is by invitation only.
Date and location:
26 - 27 November 2014, Budapest, Hungary.


An interactive workshop on biosecurity in the EU

The EIP AGRI wants to stimulate innovation to contribute to competitiveness and sustainability of European agriculture. Proper biosecurity is an important element to ensure sustainability in the longer run.

DG AGRI will organise a workshop in Brussels on 22 and 23 January 2015 on this topic. The workshop aims to contribute to innovation for ‘on-farm biosecurity’ in the production of poultry, ruminants and pigs. It will identify key elements of ‘routine’ biosecurity measures and best practices. It will encourage cooperation between farmers, vets, advisers and governments to make sure that good practices are widely adopted. Plans to define research needs will also be made.
Please note participation at this event is by invitation only.
Date and location:
22 – 23 January 2015, Brussels, Belgium.


Horizon 2020: Save the date!

The Info Day on Horizon 2020 calls 2015 for societal challenge 2 will take place in Brussels on 21 November 2014. Watch for news in the coming days on the EIP-AGRI website.

Making the most of pig manure

Although pigs are actually one of the world’s cleanest creatures – despite their reputation to the contrary – cleaning up after them is a challenging task. The bulk, gas emissions and associated odours give pig manure a bad name. But if you know how to extract them, there are valuable nutrients in the slurry. The EU-funded EfficientHeat project has advanced waste disposal while giving pig farmers the potential to turn manure into money. Read more.
Find more success stories on the Horizon 2020 website.

Recycling waste for compost

The REFERTIL project carried out applied research on transforming urban organic waste, food industrial by-products and farm organic residues from a “costly disposal process” into an income generating activity for farmers (see their website). For the past three years, the consortium of 14 partners has been working on reducing the use of mineral fertilisers and chemicals in agriculture by an efficient and economical process of recycling treated organic waste as compost and bio-char products. Biochar is plant and/or animal-based biomass which has been carbonised at low temperature and can be used to improve soil, or as an organic phosphorus fertiliser. The aim was to move away from the industrial "Make-Take-Waste" approach to production (making products by taking from nature and producing waste). Solutions which have been developed are presented as safe, organic and natural alternatives to mineral fertilisers and intensive chemicals, and which at the same time put waste to good use. These include – “ABC” Animal Bone bioChar – a slow-release organic phosphorus fertiliser which has a high concentrate of useful mineral content and supports soil microbiological life as well, produced by the REFERTIL project. Field demonstrations carried out since 2004 have proven how well it works.

The project was funded through the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme. More information on their activities can be found here.

A forum for farmers on using Global Navigation Satellite Systems for farming

Precision agriculture can help farms reduce costs and ensure that their processes are more environmentally friendly. Often this type of farming uses ‘Global Navigation Satellite Systems’ (GNSS), where satellite signals can be used for the purposes of determining a specific location with high precision, which can help farmers become more efficient. The UNIFARM project was set up to encourage the use of Precision Agriculture methods which are still quite rare, and to create a Europe-wide system so that farmers can cooperate on GNSS-related issues. They identified the need to make connections between existing networks and platforms to increase dissemination of information and knowledge sharing for GNSS and Precision agriculture. So, the project’s team decided to create an online user forum as a way for farmers and others from all over Europe to talk to each other about GNSS, and contribute to making the existing technology more user friendly and well-known.
There are many links which can be made with the EIP-AGRI network, through the EIP-AGRI website and encouraging possible Operational Groups and Horizon 2020 projects on this topic.

The project was also funded through the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme. More information on their activities can be found here.

Innovation and research ideas from farming and forestry practice

Are you a farmer, forester or are you working in agribusiness? Then, what would be your most important issue to research? Please let us know by completing the form on the EIP-AGRI website. The EIP-AGRI Service Point will compile an annual report on research needs from practice based on your inputs, and on Focus Group and workshop results. Please let us know before 1 November 2014.

€4 million fund for new applications in Smart Agriculture

Web entrepreneurs, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), are you looking for funding to support your projects for new or innovative ICT applications and services for farm and wider agricultural use?
On 15 September, the SmartAgriFood accelerator officially launched a €4 million open call for SMEs and web-entrepreneurs to develop a new generation of smart agriculture applications and services. These new ICT products should be designed for use by farmers and food producers to help them increase productivity while minimising their environmental footprint. Intelligent machines, sensor networks, and smart ICT are important ingredients for the future of farming! Have a look at their website for all the details.


What else is happening in the world of agricultural innovation?

Over the next few months, a number of interesting events will be organised all over Europe on a variety of agricultural topics including plant biology, productive and sustainable livestock and collaboration in the food sector.
See the calendar here.​ 
Should you have information about interesting events in the coming months, please let us know:

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The EIP-AGRI Service Point is based in Brussels. You can reach us from Monday to Friday from 9:00 – 17:00. By phone +32 2 543 73 48 or email

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