EU Agricultural Commissioner Phil Hogan has lamented the gaps in rural broadband coverage in Europe, which he said threaten the competitiveness and economies in these regions.
He was speaking at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin attended by the agriculture ministers of 74 nations.
They discussed how digitalisation can strengthen agriculture, by enabling increased yields while reducing the burden on resources and the environment.
In their closing communiqué, the GFFA pledged to find solutions to reduce the existing gaps in broadband coverage and improve access to digital technologies in the farming sector.
German agriculture minister Julia Klöckner announced plans to earmark €15m for rural digital project, including assessment of what digitalisation can achieve in practice and how it can help to save resources, protect the environment, ensure livestock health, reduce workloads and improve consumer protection.
This coincides with US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue implementing a $600m (€524m) grant and loan programme to connect rural Americans to better broadband services.
The GFFA has been held at the International Green Week Berlin since 2009. It brings together high-ranking experts to discuss the major issues in the world’s food and farming industries.
This year, the main theme was ‘Digital agriculture — Intelligent solutions for tomorrow’s farming industry.’