Project acronym: LIFE GAIA Sense
Project full title: Innovative Smart Farming services supporting Circular Economy in Agriculture
Start date: 01/07/2018
End date: 30/06/2022
Project Coordinator: NEUROPUBLIC AE PLIROFORIKIS & EPIKOINONION

The main objective of the LIFE GAIA Sense project is to demonstrate GAIA Sense, an innovative “Smart Farming” (SF) solution that aims at reducing the consumption of natural resources, as a way to protect the environment and support Circular Economy (CE) models.

More specifically, this project will launch 18 demonstrators across Greece, Spain and Portugal covering 9 crops (olives, peaches, cotton, pistachio, potatoes, table tomatoes, industrial tomatoes, almonds, kiwi) in various terrain and microclimatic conditions. They will demonstrate an innovative method, based on high-end technology, which is suitable for being replicated and will be accessible and affordable to Farmers either as individuals or collectively through Agricultural Cooperatives.

Moreover, LIFE GAIA Sense aims to promote resource efficiency practices in SMEs of the agricultural sector and eventually, contribute to the implementation of the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe. This project will demonstrate a method on how the farmer will be able to decide either to use or avoid inputs (irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides etc.) in a most efficient way, without risking the annual production. The focus is on the resource consumption reduction side of CE, and the results will be both qualitatively and quantitatively, considering the resources’ efficiency in agricultural sector.

The project is multi-objective and intends to:

  1. Setup and establish a large scale SF infrastructure for data collection and analysis and 18 demonstrators of GAIA Sense SF solution.
  2. Establish a network of scientists and professionals and engage them in adapting the SF services and models to the specific needs of each demonstrator and each crop.
  3. Apply the results to the field and measure the rate of decline of inputs on selected crops and correlate between the GAIA Sense results’ and the targets set as policy by EU over the CE.
  4. Measure the impact of GAIA Sense on soil, water and air quality.
  5. Disseminate the project’s results at national and EU level and build a robust business model to ensure their replicability and sustainability.
  6. Form policy making proposals in order to implement efficient methods of managing resources in agriculture sector.
  7. Starting from investing on the success of small scale demonstrators, the project intends to attract the interest of larger stakeholder groups, to achieve the scale needed for adaptation efforts that make real sense e.g. from local cooperatives to organizations like Copa Cogeca

The main expected results are the following:

  1. A large scale SF infrastructure for data collection and analysis able to support 18 demonstrators of GAIA Sense SF solution in Greece, Spain and Portugal. These demonstrators will support 40 farmers and agronomists that will be actively engaged and closely monitored and 750 farmers that will just receive the advice.
  2. The extension of the SF services (Fertilization advice, Irrigation advice, Automated irrigation and Hazard warnings) to cover 9 crops (olives, peaches, cotton, pistachio, potatoes, table and industrial tomatoes, almonds, kiwi) with high regional value and a variety of terrain and microclimatic conditions, in 3 EU countries.
  3. A close to market, thoroughly tested and replicated SF method for a more efficiently use of resources in agricultural sector. Based on the results of 6 previous pilots, partners expect an improved Nitrogen Use Efficiency (up to 30%), a reduction of pesticides use (11-25%) and water consumption (25%), depending on crop.
  4. Achievement of, if not enhanced, at least the same productivity on the farm despite the alteration on cultivation method and the minimization of resources use.
  5. Positive socio-economic impact due to the increase of farmer’s income and the friendly environmental use of resources. Income will increase since the cultivation cost will lower, even without a product price increase. Meanwhile, the quality of the product will be better (less use of chemicals) ensuring consumers’ protection.
  6. Sustainability of resources for future generations and environmental protection with an estimated deduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) equal to 32%.
  7. A validated business plan for GAIA Sense’s deployment in 3 countries.
  8. 134 new job positions will be created by January 2023. The capacity building events (B1.2) along with the engagement activities of the stakeholders will create specialized personnel which will be employed the at the community support mechanism.
  9. A network of well-educated farmers, cooperatives, professionals and specialists who will take advantage on the SM model, across EU.
  10. A fully functional and applicable model of circular economy, considering the use of resources in the agricultural sector, rather than the management of the outputs.
  11. Increase of air quality due to improved Nitrogen Use Efficiency by 30%.
  12. Policy uptake over cultivation risk management, implementation of CE in agricultural sector and contribution to EU targets about CE

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