April 29, 2024

AKIS in support of increasing farmers’ share in the the value chain – The ProWeideland label

In agriculture, the need for sustainable practices combined with economic viability is more in demand than ever.  Rising input prices and interest rates reduce farmers’ profits against the backdrop of the omnipresent challenges of climate change. Recently, the “AKIS in action” networking event, organized by the modernAKIS project, shed light on a good example in building a grazing-based milk brand using a multi-actor approach  The example from Germany illustrated how the sustainable and innovative co-creation of a new food brand can work out. The event brought together more than 150 attentively listening participants from all over Europe to explore the paths of a new brand development method.

Elena-Teodora Miron from the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture,  started the session by introducing the modernAKIS project to all participants.

Subsequently Dr. Arno Krause, head of the Center for Grasslands in Germany (Grünlandzentrum Niedersachsen Bremen e.V.) and General Manager of ProWeideland GmbH. He explained the history of the development of the sustainable milk label “Weidemilch”, which originated in 2014 in a project of the Ministry in Lower Saxony (Germany). In the absence of criteria for the production of meadow-based products a stakeholder panel has been set up which served as a co-design platform for defining production criteria. The label was introduced into retail in 2017 and is now a leader for pasture products according to the criteria defined by ProWeideland. Currently, about 2 000 farmers are contracted under ProWeideland.

Following the presentation, a lively discussion ensued, with participants actively exchanging ideas and experiences with Dr. Krause.

You can read about this interesting part of the event under Q&A:

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February 15, 2024

Navigating Agricultural Innovation: The Transformative AKIS Journeys | Is out now!

Navigating Agricultural Innovation: The Transformative AKIS Journeys 

In the vast landscape of agriculture, innovation serves as the North Star guiding us towards sustainability, resilience, and prosperity. At the heart of this transformative journey lies Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS), a dynamic network of stakeholders encompassing farmers, researchers, policymakers, advisors, and more, working collaboratively to drive change and foster innovation. 

In the pursuit of modernizing and revitalizing European agrifood and forestry systems, modernAKIS emerges as a beacon of progress, offering a comprehensive roadmap towards a more sustainable future. Aligned with the objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2023-2027, modernAKIS endeavours to strengthen AKIS strategies, enhance collaboration, and empower key actors to overcome critical challenges and seize opportunities for growth and development. 

Through a series of transformative AKIS journeys, modernAKIS embarks on a mission to empower stakeholders with the knowledge, tools, and strategies needed to navigate the complexities of agricultural innovation. These journeys serve as immersive experiences, bringing together a diverse array of actors to exchange insights, share best practices, and co-create innovative solutions. 

At the heart of modernAKIS are four key capacities essential for driving change and fostering innovation within the AKIS:  

  • The capacity to navigate complexity,  
  • Collaborate effectively,  
  • Reflect and learn, and  
  • Engage in strategic and political processes.  

By bolstering these capacities, modernAKIS equips stakeholders with the skills and knowledge needed to lead the charge towards a more sustainable and resilient agricultural future. 

Through practical knowledge and tools co-development, capacity-building activities, networking, and knowledge exchange, modernAKIS empowers stakeholders to transform their visions into reality. By harnessing the power of collaboration, innovation, and collective action, modernAKIS aims to reshape the agricultural landscape, ushering in a new era of prosperity and sustainability for European agrifood and forestry systems. 

Learn more about how modernAKIS is supporting key actors to strengthen the AKIS across EU and their Transformative AKIS Journeys (TAJs) here!

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January 25, 2024

modernAKIS webinar on ‘Common understanding on AKIS’

On 24 January, modernAKIS held a webinar on “Common understanding on AKIS”.

This joint modernAKIS, CORENet and EU4Advice online event, which was attended by more than 60 participants, served to create a common understanding of the AKIS concept as well as possible ways of “integrating” advisors into AKIS.

Find below the presentations shared during the webinar:

Integrating Advisors into the AKIS

Advisors in AKIS

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December 11, 2023

modernAKIS at the National networking for innovation workshop of the EU CAP network

Between November 30 and December 1, the EU CAP Network organized the first National networking for Innovation workshop for national CAP networks in Tallinn.

The event was attended by representatives of the national CAP networks responsible for innovation as well as by delegates from the Ministries concerned. The event aimed to assist CAP networks in networking and knowledge transfer/exchange, mainly under Article 126.

Commission representative, Inge Van Oost gave a detailed presentation on the role of CAP networks in promoting innovation. In her presentation she referred to the clarification of the concept of knowledge transfer/exchange clarified in the framework of the modernAKIS project.

Several inspiring CAP network activities were presented, including the Estonian CAP network run by the Center of Estonian Rural Research and Knowledge (METK) from 1 January 2023. METK is in charge of coordinating all activities related to AKIS, including running the advisory service, providing training for advisors, ensuring knowledge exchange related to innovation and digitalisation. The Austrian CAP network was also presented, which started its work a few months ago. The Finnish CAP network presented its innovation market Innovatori, which is becoming increasingly popular both among exhibitors and visitors. The Irish rural network presented its support activities implemented under the Rural Development Programme, while the Flemish network introduced its current activities financed by the CAP Strategic Plan. The Swedish and Slovenian networks were also showcased. During the breakout sessions, methods related to networking and knowledge exchange were discussed.

The second day focused on transnational cooperation among national CAP networks. After an inspiring presentation by the Nordic-Baltic Network to Innovate, the Commission drew attention to several Horizon projects that have been launched to promote innovation and knowledge transfer cooperation between Member States. In the poster session, many of these projects were presented, including modernAKIS, about which many questions and requests were raised by the participants.

Watch below some of the photos of the workshop:

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November 6, 2023

modernAKIS network event | November 29th | 10h00 – 12h00 CET

Join us for an exciting event that brings together seasoned experts from all over Europe who share their experiences on how to improve the flow of knowledge between researches, advisors and practitioners. The event features three engaging showcases of real-life successful examples. Learn from and exchange with peers as they share their practical insights and strategies for success!

Connect with your peers in the networking session or in the parallel session for a Community of Practice for advisors. Whether you are a seasoned pro or just starting in your field, this event offers a platform to gain new insights, enhance your knowledge, and build valuable relationships.

Don’t miss the chance to be part of an enriching experience that combines informative presentations, interactive discussions, and the opportunity to connect with your peers in a dynamic and engaging environment. Join us and take your knowledge and network to the next level!

Click here to register and here to see the programme!

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November 2, 2023

modernAKIS #2 AKIS Coordination Bodies General Assembly

modernAKIS is organising the first face-to-face AKIS CB General Assembly (GA).

The meeting will take place in Zagreb starting November 7th and will count with at least one AKIS actor per member state. With this networking event the project aims to foster peer-to-peer exchange among AKIS CBs.

This forum for key AKIS decision makers supporting peer-to-peer learning and exchange of experiences on AKIS approaches. The project partners built a methodology to involve key AKIS actors in Transformational AKIS Journeys and created a summary of good practices on how to involve advisers in the AKIS. In the future, the project will develop learning modules on AKIS basics and systems thinking (3 modules in all EU-languages), set up a Community of Practice in each Member State to support the AKIS coordination body.

The event’s agenda is available here.

Stay tuned to learn more!

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October 30, 2023

modernAKIS in a nutshell!

EU CAP NETWORK has spotlighted modernAKIS in a recent news item!

Discover how our Horizon Europe project is shaping the future of Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS), connecting farmers, foresters, and rural communities for a greener tomorrow.

Read more about it here!

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October 30, 2023


The latest podcast, “Coltiviamo innovazione“, in which Simona Cristiano participated, is now available on Spotify and Spreaker!

In the very first episode, we delved deep into the world of AKIS and its profound impact on the field. It was an insightful conversation with Simona Cristiano, where was discussed the significance and influence of AKIS.

Check out the episode here!

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October 23, 2023

II meeting of the National CoP of ModernAKIS

On Monday, October 9 from 10.00 to 14.00 at the headquarters of the General Directorate of Rural Development, Innovation and Agri-food the II meeting of the ModernAKIS national CoP took place in Madrid.

The agenda was:

1. Opening of the national CoP. Presentation of the attendees. Maite Ambrós Mendioroz. Deputy director of innovation and digitalization. MAPA.

2. Digitalization initiatives. Maite Ambrós. Deputy director of innovation and digitalization.

3. What are ccCoPs? Themes. Rebeca Diez. Project manager of FEUGA.

4. Roadmap and possible interactions with other projects or initiatives. Juan Pedro Romero. Head of Training and Technology. MAPA.

5. What do you propose for the national CoP? Juan Pedro Romero. Head of Training and Technology. MAPA.

Subsequently, attendees were divided into 2 breakout groups and actively participated in proposing solutions on advice, innovation, digitalization, training and knowledge transfer.

It was agreed that volunteers would be found to participate in the ccCoPs and that members of the national CoP would be kept informed of ModernAKIS developments.

Watch below some photos of the meeting:

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August 22, 2023

Belgium AKIS | Updates on the different AKIS

AKIS Overview

Belgium is a relatively small country, characterised by a complex political organisation in which the regions have a lot of responsibility. Because of this decentralisation, Belgium can be perceived to have two separate AKIS, one in Flanders and one in Wallonia. Both AKIS are constituted by a large variety of actors, each having their own area of expertise. Both regions chose to implement a public policy characterised by a delegation of services, in which the Flemish and Walloon goverments support both AKIS’ with institutional support and competitive calls.

The Flemish AKIS can be considered as a very integrated system. At the core of it are the experimental stations and the farmers’ organisations who are strongly linked with the farming community. In this context Innovatiesteunpunt (department of farmers’ organisation Boerenbond) deserves a special mention as this organisation maintains a close connection to most AKIS actors as they take on the role of knowledge broker in the Flemish AKIS network. In terms of research, the experimental stations and institutions for higher education are more closely connected to the farming community than the universities. The weakest issue seems to be the advisory system which is not integrated enough in the Flemish AKIS. There seems to be a weak link between the (private) advisory services and agricultural research. Furthermore, there was no obligation for advisors to engage in training activities in order to get selected as an advisor for KRATOS, the advisory system funded by the Flemish government. This has changed under the new CAP Strategic Plan. Of course, this does not apply to all advisors, e.g. there are agricultural advisors who are linked to the experimental stations and are therefore more informed about the latest developments in agricultural research or advisors who are more familiar with research out of their own interest.

In Wallonia, the pilot centres, the Collège des producteurs and a large range of other organisations and institutions form the backbone of the AKIS. Wallonia has a lot of resources in terms of knowledge exchange and support services for farmers but because of the plurality of these service providers it is hard to find an overview of the specific expertise of each actor. Because of the lack of coherence and resonance between the different Walloon AKIS organisations, the Walloon AKIS can be considered as strong but rather fragmented. Advisory services in Wallonia also appear to operate on a regional scale and seem to spend slightly more time on teaching and training activities and participating in training programs then their Flemish counterparts. The Walloon government also supports agriculture through an array of support measures, however, they seem less focused on innovation than is the case in Flanders.

AKIS Coordination Bodies

In the Region of Flanders, the AKIS coordination body is part of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (the ministry of agriculture). She is also the Managing Authority.

CAP Strategic Plan Priorities Belgium

Belgium has 2 CAP Strategic Plans, one for the Region of Flanders and one for the Walloon Region. The two Plans represent a total EU budget of over €2.8 billion, with €1.3 billion for Flanders and €1.5 billion for Wallonia. Out of the total EU budget of these two regions, more than €900 million will be dedicated to environmental and climate objectives and eco-schemes and €100 million to young farmers.

In the Flemish Plan, income support and security are a key priority. In addition to direct payments, farmers will receive higher support for their first 30 hectares of land. Investments to make farms more sustainable and more resilient to market shocks are also encouraged with more than 35% of Flemish farmers to receive funding. To help address the environmental challenges related to its highly intensive agricultural model, Flanders allocates €185 million, more than half of its rural development budget, to environmental and climate-related objectives, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing soil and water quality and strengthening of biodiversity. The Flemish Plan aims to increase the area under organic farming to more than 30 000 hectares. Thanks to specific support, it will also help 1 665 young farmers to set up. Finally, CAP funding will help create more than 1 700 jobs in rural areas.

Related to AKIS, the main interventions in the Flemish CAP plan are listed below:

The Walloon Plan will set aside higher funding for direct payments with a redistribution payment for small and medium-sized farms. Farmers growing protein crops will receive coupled support with a budget of €17 million to encourage the protein autonomy of farms in the region. To achieve its environmental objectives, Wallonia dedicates 26% of its direct payments budget to eco-schemes, and 56% of its rural development budget to interventions protecting the environment, climate and biodiversity. The agricultural area of the region under organic farming is expected to reach 18% thanks to CAP support. Rural development will focus on generational renewal, gender equality and social inclusion. The Walloon Plan will deploy funding to help 620 young farmers to set up and will organise events and a dedicated working group to increase the participation of women in agriculture.

Read the full report here.

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the European Commission can be held responsible for them.