Recovery Plan opportunities for agriculture
How could the Recovery Plan be an opportunity for companies within the agricultural sector? Sustainability and digital agriculture
For the Recovery Plan, the Italian proposal for spending the Next Generation EU funds, agriculture remains a strategic resource for development: 6.8 billion have been allocated for circular economy and sustainability of production, and for investments ranging from logistics to innovation to supply chain contracts. The funds allocated by the Recovery Plan and the objectives expressed in it can represent a new competitive ground for a large part of the Italian production system.
The first line of action, “sustainable agriculture”, includes initiatives for the competitiveness, energy upgrading and logistics capacity of the Italian agricultural sector. In particular, the interventions aim at energy efficiency and thermal insulation of buildings used for productive use in the agricultural and livestock sector, the latter responsible for about 50% of climate-altering gas emissions.
In addition, there is a plan for the logistics of the agricultural sector, which is based on contributions to companies to reduce the environmental impact of the transport system, improve the storage capacity of agricultural raw materials, the logistical capacity of wholesale markets and express the export potential of Italian small and medium-sized agri-food companies.
Regarding the protection and enhancement of the territory and water resources, the Recovery Plan aims to strengthen the mitigation of hydrogeological failure and increase resilience to extreme climatic events to promote the sustainable (civil and irrigation) use of water resources and the quality of inland and marine waters. It also aims to improve the adaptation to climate change of the territory by contributing to the process of decarbonization through afforestation and energy efficiency interventions.
The government document admits that investment in water infrastructure has been insufficient in recent years. Therefore, to fill the gaps present in the management of the water cycle, interventions are planned aimed at digitizing and safety of the primary and secondary water network, reducing water waste in supply, distribution and irrigation networks. The aim is to guarantee the availability of water for all uses, to adapt purification systems to European directives, to reuse purified water and to manage waste in port waters, and to protect the territory from flooding through afforestation, sustainable management in agriculture and adaptation to climate change in municipalities.
Regarding digital agriculture, the text introduces interventions aimed at creating a network based on cloud and (near) real time technologies, with blockchain systems and decentralized input/output services, which will allow the “talks” between public administrations and farms throughout the national territory. The initiative will make it possible to strengthen the capacity for analysis, enhancing the information heritage, with the development and adoption of models for the evaluation of agricultural policies.