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Policy recommendations for digitization in agriculture presented to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

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Gruppenfoto von der Übergabe der Handlungsempfehlungen an Olaf Scholz

On February 28, the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI) presented recommendations for action based on a study by the Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) to the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The study examined the potential contribution of digital and smart technologies in agriculture to promoting sustainability.

Digital technologies and precision agriculture are becoming increasingly important to address current challenges in agriculture, such as biodiversity loss, soil compaction and advancing climate change. They have the potential to increase the sustainability and productivity of agriculture. However, there are also risks and limitations to the use of these technologies. The NeNa project group, led by Prof. Sonoko Bellingrath-Kimura, analyzed the current environmental impacts of German agriculture. For this purpose, the project group evaluated literature, conducted a nationwide online survey among relevant stakeholders, and held an expert discussion with representatives from research, agriculture, politics, and industry. The goal was to identify existing digital and smart technologies for use in agricultural practice and to assess their potential contribution to more sustainable agricultural land use in Germany.

The results were summarized in a study report that was presented to the EFI Commission in November 2023. Based on the ZALF group's research, the EFI Commission derived recommendations for policymakers. One possible measure, for example, would be the introduction of a levy on pesticides and fertilizers to create incentives for the use of digital technologies, which are currently often associated with competitive disadvantages.

The expansion of the digital infrastructure in Germany, especially in rural areas, is important to accelerate the introduction of digital and intelligent technologies in agriculture. Interfaces must be created to ensure the compatibility of systems from different manufacturers. In addition, a central, politically managed common data space should be established and a clear legal framework for the use of digital technologies should be created. Another important measure is to integrate the potential uses of digital technologies into agricultural training and to expand experimental fields for practical testing of new technologies.

The full project report is now publicly available on EFI's official website:


Further information:

  • About EFI: The independent Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI) advises the Federal Government on scientific policy and regularly publishes a report on research, innovation and technological performance in Germany. The annual reports provide a comprehensive analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the German innovation system in an international comparison and over time. In addition, the prospects of Germany as a location for research and innovation are assessed on the basis of current scientific studies. Suggestions for optimizing national research and innovation policy are a central component of the reports.



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 Group photo of the handover of the recommendations to Olaf Scholz | Source: © David Ausserhofer.
On February 28, the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI) presented recommendations for action based on a study ZALF to the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. | Source: © David Ausserhofer.
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© Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e. V. Müncheberg

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