Agriculture faces major challenges on a daily basis – adverse weather conditions, market changes, plant and animal diseases constantly require the implementation of innovative solutions to overcome these problems and achieve competitiveness.
From 2020, farmers face another challenge – a labor shortage caused by a pandemic. Most workers were unable to travel to the farms they work on due to measures to prevent the spread of the virus resulting in unharvested orchards and uncultivated land.
Given this problem that threatens agriculture in Europe, the University of Waheningen in the Netherlands, together with partners from other countries, has launched a project Robs4Crops.
Project coordinator Dr. Frits van Evart points out that agriculture is extremely sensitive to labor shortages, so the implementation of efficient and sustainable procedures in agriculture is crucial.
“Robs4Crops is an important step towards the revitalization of the European food and agricultural industry in these difficult times, as well as the key to the faster adoption of high-tech robotics in agriculture,” adds Dr. Evart.
Existing agricultural machines and tractors will be upgraded so that, together with existing agricultural robots, they can function as parts of a robotic system, according to the Robs4Crops website.
One of the participants in this, but also many other projects dealing with the introduction of technological innovations in agriculture, is Foodscale Hub, and we talked about the Robs4Crops project with the development leader, Maja Žikić.
She points out that this project has both academic partners from the university and farms that are exemplary fields for new technologies. All these components form a kind of ecosystem in order to effectively implement technological innovation.
“The biggest problem in robotics is the lack of cooperation between innovators and producers of these innovations. That is why Robs4Crops is there to improve the existing systems and implement them on five farms in four countries – the Netherlands, France, Spain and Greece, “Maja points out.
Not only will it compensate for the current shortage of labor, but the wider application of robotics in agriculture will enable machines to perform repetitive jobs and jobs that can endanger human health, and farm workers will be able to dedicate themselves to more sophisticated jobs.
“The goal of this project is to automate projects that are repetitive and demanding for people, and which do not require any intellectual work. However, the introduction of robotics in agriculture is far from leading to layoffs and fewer jobs. The goal of this project is not to make people lose their jobs, but to focus on other activities in order to increase efficiency in agriculture “, says Maja for the Energy Portal.
She adds that it is very important that the new technology is in line with environmental standards in order to prevent a negative impact on the environment, although it is still early to talk about the principle on which the new technology will work and whether it will use renewable energy sources.
“Certainly, we are working on preserving the environment, and all the technology within this project aspires to be clean technology with as little harmful gas emissions as possible,” Maja points out.
When asked about the chances that robotics will be applied in agriculture in Serbia, Maja said that the chances are high because there are already several pilot farms in Serbia where innovations are being tested.
She adds that in the coming period, Robs4Crops will regularly publish improved components of the project, which will be publicly available on the site, and investors are invited to regularly follow these announcements and find what suits them best.
Source: Energetski portal Srbije by www.energetskiportal.rs.
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