Geert Wilms: “Farmers must decide how to make the most of digital farming”

Ypaithros – Chora had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Geert Wilms during the Agribusiness Forum 2019 at Serres (31/10/2019 – 2/11/2019). In his brief interview, the Director of Agricultural Innovation Brabant LIB/ZLTO, South Holland Farmers Organization, discussed with us the evolution of this year’s Agribusiness Forum and gave his opinion on topics, such as digital technology, research and collaboration as a key to succeed in the Greek farming domain.

Antonis Andronikakis

What were your impressions on this year’s event?

Agribusiness Forum has undergone a major development in one year. The discussions and presentations have become deeper and broader in character. The interaction with the public was also more interesting. Also there was a better balance between representation of farmers, business, government and knowledge institutions. The main theme of this year’s forum (“The future of agriculture in the digital age”) remains a very important issue for farming and agribusiness in the coming decade.

During your presentation you showed us various examples of innovative and digital farming in The Netherlands. How important is the adoption of digital technologies in farms?

Farmers have to delve into the matter themselves and decide how they implement these options in their own company. And thereby determine whether they want to lead the way or whether they want to get just behind the forerunners. And there are opportunities and application possibilities for both large and small companies. It is therefore important to make the right choices. And to make the right choices, it is smart to work together with other companies and with independent knowledge institutes.

Various speakers focused on the gap between research in the lab and actual adoption of knowledge and innovation in Greek farms. Do you agree with this opinion?

The gap between research in the lab and actual acceptance of knowledge and innovation on farms remains a constant point of attention. In the past, the Dutch sector has benefited greatly from in their development because there was a national government-facilitated agricultural advisory system. That in collaboration with research, education institutes and farmers-groups.