What has the agri-food sector learnt from the pandemic?
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the community of SmartAgriHubs – an initiative funded by the EU’s H2020 programme – evaluates agri-food sector developments and puts forwards the lessons learnt in their report: “Analysis of Covid-19: Solutions on the Forum”.
In the beginning of 2020, Europe lacked a common strategy in dealing with the outbreak, which resulted in varying responses across EU Member States. This made it particularly hard to ensure adequate funding, as well as stable employment in the agricultural sector. In this regard, sharing information between stakeholders, local authorities, and professionals in the field is vital to boost the resilience of this sector to crises. This is highlighted by one of the forty examples mentioned in the report, where a Spanish company is addressing the problem of labour shortage with mobile applications that help workers register and manage their jobs.
Apart from lack of uniformity in rules and regulations, travel restrictions also severely impacted food-production as the agricultural workforce is often made up of seasonal and cross-border workers. The SmartAgriHubs community was able to help in this regard by bringing together farmers, workers, and other stakeholders through reserve and supply pools in critical sectors. This too is an essential part of the recommendations provided to the European Commission going forward.
Interested to discover more findings? Have a look at the full report on their website.