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The French government recently launched its Agriculture Innovation 2025 plan, aimed at improving the capacity of French agriculture to more strongly engage and mobilize research and to convert the advances in agricultural innovation into benefits for both competitiveness on the global market and improved environmental performance. With more than 10% of all public research and development money devoted to agriculture, France is one of the biggest investors in agricultural research in Europe.

In order to better target this effort, the French government created a task force to develop large plans of action for the Agriculture Innovation 2025 plan. The task force came up with 4 overarching priorities for development in this field in the coming years.

Here’s a summary of the recommendations.

Reinforce research in agricultural soils, agriculture and climate

This section is based largely on France’s groundbreaking 4 per 1000 Initiative, officially launched at the COP 21 Paris climate conference last year, which aims to increase the amount of carbon sequestered in soil through the use of different agricultural methods and practices. Scientists have determined that an annual .4% increase in the amount of carbon stored in soils could compensate for annual human produced carbon emissions.

Increased research and funding for this innovative project forms the major part of this first section of the recommendations. It also includes funding for an international program for data on carbon in soils and a national network for coordinating scientific expertise and techniques on soil research.

Place agriculture at the heart of the National Research Strategy.

This section of the recommendations includes increased funding for interdisciplinary initiatives that agriculture plays a key role in, including: climate, biology, biotechnology, data and precision agriculture.

In the domain of biotechnology, France possesses undeniable tools at the level of public research and business. The report recommends providing significant investment in new technologies in this field. As part of this, a new program of research support and an increase in the amount of dedicated infrastructure to biotechnology will be launched soon. Current resources will also be reinforced and increased.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Developing digitalization and precision agriculture

Sanitary issues in agriculture demonstrate the need to rapidly increase the power of diagnostic tools and the rapid diffusion of information among different actors in the field. In this sense, the development of new technologies for bio-sensors and associated digital services will be increased. This includes a call for grant proposals that will help develop more advanced bio-sensors that are focused on preventing sanitary issues down the road.

A portal of agricultural data will also be put in place and will work in close collaboration with organizations of agricultural professionals. With the objective of allowing people in the agricultural field to conserve and master their data, the portal will make accessing public data far simpler. This allows for a more rapid diffusion of information and the emergence of potentially radical solutions to agricultural problems.

Creating “living laboratories” to increase open innovation

This final section of the project encourages innovation in agriculture on the field. It calls for the establishment of so-called “living laboratories” and promotes investment particularly in projects that provide innovative solutions to agricultural project. Two initial projects were announced, the use of agro-ecology in Limagne and the other for the use of sustainable livestock practices in Brittany.