The general director of Rural Development, Innovation and Forestry Policy, Isabel Bombal, has participated in Malaga in the inauguration of the II edition of 'Startup Europe Smart Agrifood Summit', a meeting that has become a European benchmark in terms of innovation and digital transformation of the agri-food sector.

In her speech, the general director pointed out that digitalization is revolutionizing all sectors of the economy, which includes the agri-food sector, where new technological tools can offer great opportunities for improvement. It has encouraged the sector to take advantage of new technologies to advance competitiveness and sustainability, as well as to face the challenge of depopulation.

In this context, Bombal has reiterated the Government's commitment to innovation and the digital revolution to guarantee the future of the rural environment and the agri-food sector. In addition to innovation, the general director has considered as strategic lines the promotion of generational change and the empowerment of women, and the development of a sustainable irrigation.

He recalled that Spain defends in the negotiations of the future Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) the inclusion of these three priorities, to be considered as strategic objectives of this community policy.

Innovation and digitalization

In the field of innovation and digitalization, he pointed to the confluence of several public policies, such as the Industry Connected Strategy 4.0, the New Generation Broadband Extension Program, the National Strategy Against the Demographic Challenge or the future Strategy Spain, Entrepreneur Nation.

In the specific case of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Bombal referred to the Digitization strategy of the agri-food sector and Forestry and rural areas as a "pioneering initiative" in the European Union, whose measures have been agreed with all the agents involved. He highlighted that the MAPA is working on the first biannual plan to execute the digitalization strategy, which will be released at the end of the summer and will be applicable in 2019 and 2020.

This strategy seeks to reduce the digital divide between the urban and rural world, encourage the use of data as a driving force for the sector and boost business development and new business models. For the minister, the digitization of the business fabric is crucial to improve competitiveness and its consolidation, in addition to contributing to internationalization and the creation of quality employment.

For the general director, the celebration of the Startup Europe Smart Agrifood Summit is in line with the Digitalization Strategy and with the priorities of the Ministry to develop policies aimed at enhancing the role of women in the process of digital transformation of the rural environment and attracting young people and talent to the rural territory.

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