Towards a New Data Economy for EU Agriculture
This paper discusses the transformation from analogue to digital agriculture (smart farming) and the laws and regulations affecting the governance of agricultural data in the EU. It is argued that the current legal and policy framework in the EU is insufficient to serve the needs of responsible smart farming systems. Specific characteristics of farm data and patterns in farm data collection and use contribute to market failures in agricultural data markets and hence to the insufficient provision of public goods through agriculture. The key parts of the smart farming data value chain are shaped by private contractual agreements between farmers and agricultural technology providers that do not take into account the potential negative externalities of established data flows. There is a strong rationale for a new data economy for EU agriculture, implying a greater involvement of the state in the smart farming data value chain. Interventions would be needed both to support the ecosystem for data-driven innovations in farming and to minimize the risk of new economic and social inequalities in the agriculture sector. The creation of an EU-wide farm data repository under the auspices of EU institutions and integrating public agricultural data with private farmers' data subject to anonymisation and aggregation can be seen as a first step towards a new data economy for EU agriculture. Also, the Common Agricultural Policy should be more involved in and committed to the process of the digital transformation of farming in the EU.(original abstract)
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