The on-farm project is moving up a level
Although the groundbreaking concept of “Living Lab”, which will lead to a paradigm shift in the field of scientific research, is to be introduced in the European Union only in the next few years, by creating the on-farm network we already started working on a similar concept in 2012. Instead of the theoretical analysis of scientific questions, we conduct practice oriented research by implementing site-specific participatory research projects in cooperation with farmers. Our on-farm project can expand further by 2023 due to the 3.4 million Euro European Union funding granted by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Hungarian National Rural Network (MNVH).
Climate efficient nutrient management, organic soil protection practices, the elaboration of more diverse cultivation systems, the spreading of ancient cereal species, the promotion of tomato landraces and the development and the use of digital technologies that improve sustainability in agriculture are some of the objectives to be implemented from the funding in the 2019-2023 project period through the expansion of our on-farm network, which we have been developing for seven years.
The aim of the on-farm network is to develop a more sustainable kind of agriculture and research topics are defined together with farmers based on real life problems. For the research to be a success we need the cooperation of farmers. Once each site-specific research is complete we produce a written summary, which other members of the network can use to draw relevant conclusions, while the participant offering the research site gets farm-specific results and recommendations to help solve the problem in question.
In the past years we have gained huge experience in reaching Hungarian farmers and organizing a cooperation based network for them. We have also helped expand their pool of practices with efficient agro-ecological methods. Our aim is to use the granted support to becoming a stable network of living labs, linking farmers, the processing industry and other product path actors and researchers to find solutions to the site-specific problems and also to manage the practical introduction of jointly elaborated solutions while leading Hungarian agriculture towards an ecological path.
This support is a huge opportunity both for ÖMKi and the Hungarian agricultural sector since the decision behind it is in line with the paradigm shift experienced in the financing of research activities within the European Union, and it gives Hungary a head start in the competition of the European countries by strengthening an already proven project which fits into the new structure to be introduced soon.