European Parliament & Online

Tuesday, January 23, 2024
10:00 - 12:30 (CET)

The ‘Digitalisation, AI and sustainable agriculture’ seminar, co-organised with IEEP, under the auspices of MEP Petros Kokkalis, explored digitalization and data utilization in agriculture. Focusing on advanced progress and best practices, the goal was to address challenges hindering further development in data-driven innovation. The program included an introductory presentation on sustainable productivity challenges, followed by two panels. The first panel featured representatives from the public and private sector, and discussed supporting an inclusive, sustainable and resilient digital future in agriculture: the role of policy. The second panel, with diverse speakers, tackled challenges in implementing the EU’s digitalization policy, including knowledge transfer and data privacy concerns.

We recommend reading the recent report Artificial intelligence in the agri-food sector – applications, risks and impact by our keynote speaker Josse De Baerdemaeker.

You can watch the videos from the event below or read a summary of the seminar here.

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Videos from this event

Watch videos
2024 Digitalisation, AI and sustainable agriculture seminar – Introduction video image

2024 Digitalisation, AI and sustainable agriculture seminar – Introduction

Franc Bogovič, Tassos Haniotis, Petros Kokkalis, Jurgen Tack

2024 Digitalisation, AI and sustainable agriculture seminar – Session 1 video image

2024 Digitalisation, AI and sustainable agriculture seminar – Session 1

Grigoris Chatzikostas, Ornella Cosomati, Josse De Baerdemaeker, Petros Kokkalis, Bram Moeskops, Evangelia Mourmoura, Jurgen Tack

2024 Digitalisation, AI and sustainable agriculture seminar – Session 2 video image

2024 Digitalisation, AI and sustainable agriculture seminar – Session 2

Beth Dooley, Keisuke Katsura, Petros Kokkalis, Jurgen Tack, Steve Tanner, Kaili Juppets, Tassos Haniotis

Summaries from this event

Confirmed speakers (in alphabetical order)

Josse De Baerdemaeker image
Josse De Baerdemaeker

Professor Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS), KE Leuven

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Professor Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS), KE Leuven

Josse De Baerdemaeker graduated from the KU Leuven, Belgium and has an MSc and PhD in Agricultural Engineering from Michigan State University. He is recognised as the founding father of the concept of precision agriculture, and his focus is on improving technology in crop cultivation, harvesting and handling to minimize losses and optimize yield and income for farmers. Major activities were on automation of machinery in the field as well as quality control in post harvest processes. For many years he was a non-executive chair of a grower owned fruit and vegetable   cooperative. He is Emeritus Professor at the KU Leuven and was a visiting Professor at Kyoto University, Japan.

Franc Bogovič image
Franc Bogovič

MEP, European Parliament & member of Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)

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MEP, European Parliament & member of Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)

Franc Bogovič graduated from the Agronomy College at the University in Maribor in 1984, thus becoming an Agricultural Engineer. He was employed as an agricultural extension expert and head of the Cooperation Department in Agrokombinat Krško. He later established a family commerce business, which he successfully managed for 8 years. He became a leader in his local community Koprivnica in 1986. From 1998 to 2011, he was elected mayor of the Municipality of Krško four consecutive times (in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010). During his thirteen-year term of office, he played a significant role in improving the relationships of the municipality as well as the state toward the Krško Nuclear Plant, and establishing a permanent nuclear waste repository. From 2004 he was also the vice president of the Association of European municipalities with nuclear facilities, GMF (Group of European Municipalities with Nuclear Facilities). He was elected member of the National Parliament of the Republic of Slovenia two consecutive times (in the fifth and sixth terms of office, in 2008 and 2011). He was the Minister for agriculture and environment in the tenth Government of the Republic of Slovenia, from 10 February 2012 to 25 February 2013.

He was elected member of the European Parliament on 25 May 2014 and again on 26 May 2019. He represents the Slovenian People’s Party (SLS) in the European People’s Party (EPP) Political Group in the European Parliament.

In the first mandate in the European Parliament, his work was most marked by his initiative for Smart Villages and the Alliance for Youth project.

In his current term in the European Parliament, Bogovič is focusing on farming and food security, at the forefront of which are the softening and improvement of the EU regulation on the sustainable use of pesticides (SUR), ensuring the competitiveness of European and Slovenian industry, economy, and the energy sectors, where he as the rapporteur of the Committee for industry, research and energy (ITRE) prepared a report on Small Modular Reactors (SMR). He advocates for the Union’s strategic autonomy in the energy sector with further investments in nuclear energy. As a rapporteur of the Committee on Regional Development (REGI), he prepared an opinion on the Critical Materials Regulation with an emphasis on the EU’s strategic, coordinated, and global actions, aimed at securing and improving access to critical and strategic raw materials for Europe, without which the green and digital transformation will not be successful.

He was elected President of the Slovenian People’s Party at the electoral Congress at Brdo pri Kranju on 2 March 2013. From 2009 to 2013, he was the vice president of the SLS. He started engaging in politics as a young man during the political spring in Slovenia, and is one of the founders and creators of the Slovenian Farmers Association, the first democratic political party in Slovenia after World War II and the predecessor of the Slovenian People’s Party.

Grigoris Chatzikostas image
Grigoris Chatzikostas

VP for Business Development, FoodScale Hub

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VP for Business Development, FoodScale Hub

Grigoris Chatzikostas is an expert in financing innovation in agtech and foodtech. He is managing multi-national and cross-sectoral consortia, developing proposals for EU funding, and coordinating large-scale projects that promote tech-enabled entrepreneurship in the agrifood sector. In the past 15 years, he has managed projects exceeding the total value of 100 mEUR. He has delivered programs supporting more than 150 startups and SMEs with pre-seed funding and business support services. As a passionate and engaging public speaker and trainer, he makes complex subjects related to EU funding and technologies accessible and easy to understand. He also offers mentoring and strategic consulting to a small number of carefully selected companies that are aligned with his interests.

Ornella Cosomati image
Ornella Cosomati

Director of Sustainability Policy, Microsoft

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Director of Sustainability Policy, Microsoft

Ornella leads EU sustainability policy at Microsoft. Based in Brussels, she follows policy developments in the space of circular economy, ESG and energy. In the era of AI, Ornella also looks at the endless opportunities that AI can offer to support Europe’s sustainability goals and Microsoft’s customers while they embark in the sustainability transformation of their sectors (i.e. manufacturing, agriculture, electricity).

Prior to joining Microsoft, Ornella worked for Pepsico in their government affairs office, and held previous roles in the British parliament, a public affairs consultancy and a Brussels based association, always working in the space of sustainability, climate, and agricultural policy.

Beth Dooley image
Beth Dooley

Head of Partnerships, Downforce Technologies

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Head of Partnerships, Downforce Technologies

Beth Dooley is Head of Partnerships for Downforce Technologies, a pioneering leader in the measurement, monitoring and verification of natural capital within the global landscape, such as soil organic carbon, above-ground biomass, soil moisture and biodiversity. Over the last fifteen years, Beth has worked on agri-environmental-climate policy and research within the US and EU, and supported farmers with knowledge exchange and capacity building aimed at enhancing sustainable farm businesses. She is a bar qualified attorney in the US with a LLM specialising in Global Environment and Climate Change Law from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and she received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Exeter, England.

Tassos Haniotis image
Tassos Haniotis

Member of the Advisory Council, Forum for the Future of Agriculture

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Member of the Advisory Council, Forum for the Future of Agriculture

Tassos Haniotis recently retired, after a 33-year career in the Commission, as the Director of Strategy, Simplification and Policy Analysis in the Directorate General for Agriculture of the European Commission. Tassos is a member of the Forum for the Future of Agriculture Advisory Council and a Senior Guest Research Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. He previously held posts as Head of Unit in the Agricultural Policy Analysis and Perspectives unit and the Agricultural Trade Policy Analysis unit in the same Directorate General, as Member and subsequently Deputy Head of the Cabinet of former European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler (with respective responsibilities the preparation of the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, and the agricultural chapter of the Doha WTO Round and the EU-Mercosur negotiations), and as the Agricultural Counsellor of the European Commission’s Delegation in the United States. He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Georgia, USA, and a B.A. in Economics from the Athens University of Economics and Business, in his native Greece. Before joining the European Commission, he spent six months as a visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Agricultural Studies, Wye College, University of London, focusing on EU-US agricultural trade relations in the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations. He hold a Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of Thessaloniki. Active in the ag research community, he is a member of the International and European Associations of Ag Economics, the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium, and the EU Nitrogen Expert Panel.
Kaili Juppets image
Kaili Juppets

Procurement Agro Potato Director, PepsiCo Europe

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Procurement Agro Potato Director, PepsiCo Europe

Kaili Juppets has worked at PepsiCo for over 25 years and is currently Global Procurement Agro Potato Director. Her key areas of expertise and professional passion are in the areas of supply chain and procurement, agri-tech and digital transformation, data tools and systems to drive business value, and sustainabiity, particularly in the processing and seed potato industry and in fruits and vegetables.

Keisuke Katsura image
Keisuke Katsura

Associate Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

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Associate Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

Dr. Katsura Keisuke has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Science from Kyoto University and his research interests include crop science and agronomy.

His most recent appointments are:
2005-2016: Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Japan
2013-2014:Visiting Associate Professor, International Cooperation Center for Agricultural Education, Nagoya University, Japan
2016 to date:Associate Professor, Graduate School of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan
2018 to 2019: Visiting Associate Professor, International Cooperation Center for Agricultural Education, Nagoya University, Japan

Petros Kokkalis image
Petros Kokkalis

MEP, European Parliament

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MEP, European Parliament

Petros Kokkalis has been actively involved in public service for the past 25 years, developing social innovation focused on human and sustainable development.

In 2019 he was elected MEP with the Progressive Alliance - Syriza ticket, representing Kosmos: an association seeking to put the SDGs in the heart of the European policymaking, and aiming at the empowerment and engagement of civil society and all stakeholders to take bottom-up action for implementing the European Green Deal and the SDGs.

He is a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) and a substitute member of the Committee on Budgets (BUDG), the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), and the Committee on Fisheries (PECH). In the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development he is the co-chair of the SDGs Working Group.

He studied Modern History at the University of Hampshire, and earned his master's degree in public administration at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

He is co-founder and secretary of the non-governmental environmental Organization Earth (2009 - present) whose work on environmental awareness and education for sustainable development has been awarded by the International Union for the Protection of the Environment (IUCN).

He was elected and served as the Vice-Mayor responsible for economic development and climate change in the municipality of Piraeus (2014 - 2019), where he promoted sustainable entrepreneurship and support of start-ups in the maritime economy.

The European Commission has acknowledged its work, awarding the Blue Growth Piraeus initiative at the European Entrepreneurship Promotion Competition 2018.

During his term of office he led the humanitarian support during the Refugee Crisis in the period 2015-2016 and served as the President of the Municipal Council for Refugees.

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Bram Moeskops

Administrator, Data protection and governance, European Commission

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Administrator, Data protection and governance, European Commission

Dr Bram Moeskops is Managing Director of FiBL Europe. Based in Brussels, FiBL Europe represents the four national FiBL research institutes and ÖMKI. Bram Moeskops leads the Brussels office and, together with his team, helps to ensure that FiBL's broad knowledge is made available to policymakers and stakeholders in Brussels. Based in Brussels, FiBL Europe represents the four national FiBL research institutes (FiBL Switzerland, FiBL Germany, FiBL Austria, FiBL France) and the Hungarian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture ÖMKi at a European level.

Bram Moeskops brings an impressive track record to FiBL Europe, having dedicated over a decade to his role as Research & Innovation Manager at IFOAM Organics Europe, an organisation with members from 34 countries working for organic agriculture in Europe. He also assumed responsibility for the scientific coordination of the European Technology Platform for Organic Food and Farming "TP Organics." During his tenure, he skilfully fostered an extensive network comprising European Union and national policymakers, scientists and stakeholders within the European agricultural and food sectors.

Bram Moeskops holds a PhD in Soil Science, a Master in Bioscience Engineering and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.

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Evangelia Mourmoura

Administrator, Data Protection and Governance, European Commission

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Administrator, Data Protection and Governance, European Commission

Evangelia Mourmoura has worked at the European Commission since 2017 and her current role is Administrator, European Commission - Data protection and governance. She has a Bachelor's degree in Biology, a Master in Research, Cellular abd Integrative Biology and is a Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology, Physiopathology and Pharmacology.

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Steve Tanner

CTO and Co-Founder, Ecorobotix

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CTO and Co-Founder, Ecorobotix

Steve Tanner was born in Orbe (Switzerland) in 1972. He obtained a Master in micro-engineering from the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in 1996, and a Ph. D. in microelectronics from the University of Neuchâtel (UniNE) in 2000. From 2001 to 2013, he worked as researcher and team leader at UniNE and then EPFL on a wide range of R&D projects for many applications and industries. He authored or co-authored more than 30 scientific publications. He also worked in environmental protection in Ecuador from 2003 to 2005. In 2011, he co-founded Ecorobotix, a company developing, producing and selling farming machines for sustainable agriculture using AI and robotics technology. He is currently leading the product development.

Confirmed Moderators (in alphabetical order)

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Antoine Oger

Research Director, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

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Research Director, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

Antoine was Head of the Global Challenges and SDGs team at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) since August 2021. In July 2023 he was appointed Research Director. Antoine is a specialist in environmental and more generally sustainability-related policies at the EU and global level. He joined IEEP in August 2021 as Head of Programme for Global Challenges and SDGs to work primarily on the coherence of the EU’s internal and external policies and on the greening of the EU’s trade policy. He previously worked for over twelve years in providing technical assistance for the sustainable development of countries in the global south. Antoine holds a MA in European Politics from the Institute of Political Studies of Rennes. He is a native speaker of French and fluent in English. He also speaks Spanish and Italian.

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Jurgen Tack

Secretary General, European Landowners' Organization

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Secretary General, European Landowners' Organization

Jurgen Tack has been the Secretary General – CEO of the European Landowners’ Organization since June 2023. He previously held the role of Scientific Director at ELO and served as CEO of Landelijk Vlaanderen and CEO of the Aanspreekpunt Privaat Beheer Natuur en Bos in 2016. Additionally, he was President of the International Riverine Commission River Maas/Meuse, a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Nature Based Solutions, and chaired the board of directors of the Botanical Garden Meise. He earned his PhD in Sciences after studying biology (marine ecology) at Brussels Free University. Jurgen Tack studied biology (marine ecology) at Brussels Free University where he also obtained his PhD in Sciences. Within the Framework of the Kenya Belgium Project in Marine Sciences (Coastal Farms Kenya) he developed a number of oyster farms along the Kenyan coast. In 2000 he joined the team of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform (Belgian Science Policy Office). In 2007 he became the CEO of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest. In 2016 he took the position of Scientific Director at the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO), CEO at Landelijk Vlaanderen (Flemish Landowners’ Organisation) and CEO of the Aanspreekpunt Privaat Beheer Natuur en Bos. He was also President of the International Riverine Commission River Maas/Meuse, a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Nature Based Solutions and chairman of the board of directors of the Botanical Garden Meise.

Agenda

Jan 23, 2024

10:00 - 12:30 (CET)

European Parliament

10:00 - 10:25 (CET)

Welcoming session

Introduction

  • Jurgen Tack, Secretary General, European Landowners’ Organization

Opening

  • Tassos Haniotis, Special Advisor for Sustainable Productivity, Forum for the Future of Agriculture
  • MEP Franc Bogovic

10:25 - 11:30 (CET)

Session 1: Supporting an inclusive, sustainable and resilient digital future in agriculture: the role of policy

Introduction to session

  • Petros Kokkalis, MEP

Keynote presentation

  • Josse de Baerdemaeker, Professor Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS), KE Leuven

Panel conversation

  • Evangelia Mourmoura, Administrator, Data Protection and Governance, European Commission
  • Bram Moeskops, Managing Director, FiBL Europe
  • Grigoris Chatzikostas, FoodScale Hub
  • Ornella Cosomati, Director Sustainability Policy, Microsoft

Respondents:

  • Tassos Haniotis, Special Advisor for Sustainable Productivity, Forum for the Future of Agriculture

Session moderator

  • Antoine Oger, Research Director, IEEP

11:30 - 12:30 (CET)

Session 2: Out in the digital fields: opportunities, challenges and knowledge gaps.

Speaker

  • Dr. Keisuke Katsura, Associate Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

Panel session

  • Steve Tanner, CSO, Ecorobotix
  • Beth Dooley, Head of partnerships, Downforce Tech
  • Dr. Keisuke Katsura, Associate Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Kaili Juppets, Procurement Agro Potato Director, PepsiCo Europe

Respondents:

  • Tassos Haniotis, Special Advisor for Sustainable Productivity, Forum for the Future of Agriculture
  • Petros Kokkalis, MEP

Session moderator

  • Jurgen Tack, Secretary General, European Landowners’ Organization

12:25 - 12:30 (CET)

Closing

Co-organisers

Founding, Strategic and Tech Partners

Supporting partners

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