Here is the Second part of the interview with Ana Maria Corredera Quintana, Vice Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of Andalusia

What indications emerged to submit to policy makers?

Taking into account the challenges and barriers to the digitization of the agri-food sector, the creation of legal frameworks for data availability and innovation ecosystems, such as DIHs or clusters, as well as the consolidation of existing ones, are among the policy recommendations to European, national and regional authorities made by the project partners. In this sense, a greater involvement of the quadruple helix in this complex process is crucial to achieve a multidimensional and comprehensive approach to the corresponding policy.

On the other hand, achieving the necessary skills through training and the creation of new professional profiles is a major challenge for policy makers.

In this context, the REGIONS 4FOOD project has drawn some conclusions, such as the need for a global vision of the sector and a coordinated policy mix for the agricultural sector. The partners also agreed that accessible and accountable data systems should be promoted and that there is also a need for public communication in an understandable language. Networking and working with an interregional dimension with new and continuous connections between territories, sectors and actors is key to boost the digitization of the sector in Europe.

Finally, it is worth noting that the seven Action Plans validated by REGIONS 4FOOD partners will be finding and generating new ideas and conclusions, which will be taken in consideration in the next programming periods of projects and policies at European, national and regional level.

How does the leading region believe that the regions will move forward based on the lessons learned, and what will be in your opinion the main legacy left by this interregional project at the network level, if it believes that there are new institutional relationships that allow understanding that the impact of Interreg will continue beyond the end of the project

It is clear that the scope of REGIONS 4FOOD project goes beyond its end. On the one hand, if we think of the purpose of the project in terms of strengthening cooperation between the research and business sectors and, therefore, the economic exploitation of R&D&I results, these are sustainable over time. Furthermore, the project aims to propose strategic guidelines for the new programming period. And these strategic lines are aligned with the territorial smart specialization and the commitment to the digitalization of the agro-industrial sector as a priority sector.

For example, in the case of the Andalusia Action Plan, the impact is framed in the RIS3 Andalusia 2014-2020 with lessons learned and efficient governance for S4 Andalusia 2021-2027.

As for the good practices detected in the project and transferred to other regions of the project, undoubtedly, the nature of each of them makes them sustainable over time. Thus, the good practices of an educational nature go beyond the project, since in addition to the fact that the universities cover areas of digitization of the agri-food sector, the HUBs host training courses that will also be replicable over time, bringing together key players in the agri-food sector. Another example is organizational best practices where public-private collaboration initiatives will boost technology-based ventures. Or, for example, those of a technical nature that through predictive models for data collection/analysis and testing of digital solutions will also consider the long term and go beyond the project.


the main legacy that this project leaves is that it will continue to consolidate the grassroots cooperation that was founded through the deployment of the REGIONS 4FOOD project

Finally, given that farmers, cooperatives, agri-food SMEs, citizens and other key players face particular challenges in accessing digital services and investing in digital infrastructure solutions, the main legacy that this project leaves is that it will continue to consolidate the grassroots cooperation that was founded through the deployment of the REGIONS 4FOOD project and that, as I said earlier, will be transferred to all partner regions of the European Thematic Partnership on Traceability and Big Data in the agri-food value chain, which is where it emerged from.

Seville July 2022