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Science and technology

Digital Opportunities for Better Agricultural Policies

Published on September 23, 2019

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Recent digital innovations provide opportunities to deliver better policies for the agriculture sector by helping to overcome information gaps and asymmetries, lower policy-related transaction costs, and enable people with different preferences and incentives to work better together. Drawing on ten illustrative case studies and unique new data gathered via an OECD questionnaire on agri-environmental policy organisations' experiences with digital tools, this report explores opportunities to improve current agricultural and agri-environmental policies, and to deliver new, digitally enabled and information-rich policy approaches. It also considers challenges that organisations may face to make greater use of digital tools for policy, as well as new risks which increased use of digital tools may bring. The report provides practical advice on how policy makers can address challenges and mitigate risks to ensure digital opportunities for policy are realised in practice. Finally, the report briefly considers the broader regulatory and policy environment underpinning digitalisation of the agriculture sector, with the view to ensuring that use of digital tools for agricultural and agri-environmental policy remains coherent with the digitalisation of agriculture more generally.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword
Executive Summary
Overview of findings and recommendations
What’s new? Digital technologies and agriculture1 chapter available
Digital innovations and the growing importance of agricultural data
Making better policies with digital technologies2 chapters available
Realising digital opportunities for better agri-environmental policies
Issues which may prevent digital opportunities from being realised
Data infrastructure and governance in agriculture1 chapter available
Realising digital opportunities in agriculture requires a data infrastructure
Case studies10 chapters available
Case Study 1. New Zealand Our Land and Water National Science Challenge
Case Study 2. Digital technologies for Dutch agricultural collectives
Case Study 3. Gully erosion monitoring in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef catchments
Case Study 4. Earth Observation initiatives for administration of the European Union Common Agricultural Policy
Case Study 5. Digital technologies applied by USEPA to achieve innovative compliance
Case Study 6. Digital innovations to facilitate farm level data analysis while preserving data confidentiality
Case Study 7. Data transparency, digital technologies and California’s water quality coalitions
Case Study 8: Estonia e-government and the creation of a comprehensive data infrastructure for public services and agriculture policies implementation
Case Study 9: Connecting the dots to create a data infrastructure: The US National Soil Moisture Network
Case Study 10. Data infrastructure and the potential role of the government supporting the data infrastructure – example of the Akkerweb in the Netherlands
Annexes2 chapters available
Agri-environmental policy components and policy mechanisms
OECD Questionnaire on use of digital technologies by agri-environmental policy administrators
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