The objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy in its next programming period 2023-2027 are to promote a smart and resilient agricultural sector, to support environmental and climate protection and to stimulate development and employment in rural areas.
The implementation and acceleration of this path will be pursued thanks to research and innovation through the so-called AKIS model (Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems).
What do we mean by AKIS?
The most widely accepted definition of the AKIS model is the one used in a 2012 OECD document: “The Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) is a set of organisations and/or people, including the links and interactions between them, that are active in the creation, transformation, transmission, storage, retrieval, integration, dissemination and use of knowledge and information, with the aim of working synergistically to support decision-making, problem-solving and innovation in agriculture”.
The European Union, the State and the Regions are the institutions that implement AKIS development policies and interventions.
Each organism legislates and supports funding in specific contexts in an integrated system in which several key players will cooperate: farms, forestry companies and small and medium-sized enterprises with particular reference to those involved in first processing or food distribution, consultants, researchers, communication companies, but also farmers Organisations.
The future CAP will have to provide greater incentives for synergies with research and innovation policies, promoting technological development and digitalisation.
Digital innovations in agriculture, both in terms of organisation and production processes, can promote the multifunctionality of the EU’s agricultural and food systems.
In an agricultural sector where the implementation of new technologies remains low at European level, with a specific need to promote the access of small and medium-sized enterprises to digital tools, the results of economic, environmental and social sustainability will be linked to services that provide knowledge, advice, skills and innovation.
Functions and operability
Based on the information also outlined by the National Rural Network, the priority functions of Akis include:
- Promoting the relationship between the components of the knowledge system and between them and users;
- Disseminating innovations and support their adoption by enterprises;
- Bringing business needs to light;
- Supporting policy objectives: competitiveness, sustainability, quality of production, social inclusion;
- Promoting the growth of human capital in agriculture, also through more modern communication technologies;
- Supporting the three basic components of Akis: research, training, consultancy;
- Promoting the training of Akis operators;
- Encouraging the system’s relations with civil society and its demands.
The operational components of Akis, that is the subjects responsible for producing and disseminating knowledge and innovation, can be identified within four macro-areas:
- research and experimentation
- consultancy and/or dissemination
- professional training;
- advanced support technologies.