Design of a System for Information Transfer to Reduce Administrative Burdens in the Agrifood Sector

Krijn Poppe, Hans Vrolijk, Roeland van Dijk


Agricultural policies are widening the scope to contribute to environmental objectives, such as the Green Deal, Paris Climate Agreement and sustainable development goals. This leads to new monitoring and data needs. To fulfil these data needs, it is crucial to explore the opportunities and limitations of new technologies. This paper analyses the information flows within the agricultural sector and its potential to contribute to future information needs.
Farmers act within a network of commercial and governmental organisations. The information exchange with these organisations could increasingly occur through digital means, but in reality, there is still a lot of data transfer on paper or in PDF format. This implies information loss. Digital information flows provide a wealth of information for policy evaluation and monitoring and have the potential to reduce transaction costs. Combining data from different sources (open data like earth observation data, data from on-farm sensor networks, accountancy data like invoices and data from food chain platforms) concerning a single farm is an even bigger challenge than the transfer from paper to digital. Based on these observations a list of requirements for a future solution for information transfer is defined.
Based on these requirements, this paper presents the design of a System for Information Transfer to Reduce Administrative burdens (SITRA) to combine data from different sources and give farmers control who can access these data. SITRA will address farmers’ needs to reduce the growing administrative burden placed on them by governments and the food chain sustainability and food safety schemes, especially if data would be stored in a digital farm locker and a farmer could voluntary give his consent through an authorisation mechanism to share specific data with his business partners, paying agency, statistical organisation and Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN, an EU monitoring system for the Common Agricultural Policy). A platform that provides such data lockers could also provide benchmark facilities and a tool for common (open source) maintenance of coding systems.
The paper proposes some follow-up activities to test this design. As a pilot, organic farmers that participate in the Dutch Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) will be recruited to co-develop and test the design principles of the system. Given trust issues around data management, the design of the governance and business model of the system are key issues in the follow-up. This group is chosen as organic certification and FADN are the most data-intensive monitoring and evaluation tools in the CAP. The Farm to Fork communication proposes to enlarge the organic sector to 25% of the agricultural area. A new organic control regulation, based on a risk assessment approach is about to be implemented. The Farm to Fork communication also proposes to link the FADN much more with the Farm Advisory System and to extend it to a Farm Sustainability Data Network.


information transfer system; administration; farm accounting data network

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ISSN 1869-6945


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