The European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) is one of five European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) currently in place which aim to boost the EU’s capacity to innovate.
The EIP-AGRI focuses on agriculture and forestry while other EIPs, for example, target issues related to healthy ageing and smart cities.
The working model of EIPs is to support co-operation between research and innovation partners in a bid to achieve better and faster results.
The aim of the EIP-AGRI is to pool expertise and resources with a focus on forming partnerships and using bottom-up approaches to drive change.
For example, many of the EIP-AGRI projects listed in Table 1 combine research with farmer experience to develop a programme where all parties have a vested interest to bring about change.
The projects take the form of a results-based model, meaning farmers are rewarded for making changes to their system that benefit the overall aim of the project.
It is hoped that the results from these projects can then be disseminated to the wider agricultural sector to bring about similar change on a larger scale.
It is likely that some components of the individual EIP-AGRI projects could be used to inform policy and be developed upon more under the next CAP strategic plan 2023-2027.
The FarmPEAT (Farm Payments for Ecological and Agricultural Transitions) Project is the latest EIP-AGRI project. It is a results-based farm scheme for farmers who manage lands surrounding certain raised bogs in Roscommon, Offaly, Kildare and Westmeath which are classified as high value.
It has a fund of €1.2m and it is hoped it will form a basis for future agri-environmental schemes in these areas.
Locally led projects
In May of this year Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett announced the approval of 24 more projects. These projects were selected following an open call for Farm and Community Biodiversity Initiatives in which 54 applications were received.
The Department explains Minister Hackett had originally allocated funding of €1.25m to build on the locally led innovation partnership initiatives with community versions.
However, given the high number of 54 submissions, the available budget was increased to €3m.
The open call was a key component of the Department’s Action Plan 2021 which included a focus on designing and commencing new transitional schemes for 2021 across the topics of biodiversity, climate, environment and EIP local actions. The projects will be implemented in 2021 and 2022 and are outlined in Table 2.
Some of the projects which received funding are existing European Innovation Partnership (EIP) projects from the 24 locally led programmes discussed above and who applied to the open call for funding in order to implement a new related innovation to expand the work already being carried out.
In other cases, the projects are researching or exploring certain aspects with a view to potentially expanding the project to a large-scale project under the next Rural Development Programme, as part of the CAP strategic plan for 2023-2027.