Society and regional strategies 2 min

Occitanum, a French Innovation Region for digital agriculture

The French Innovation Regions programme aims to encourage innovation by regional players to support and accelerate major transitions, particularly the environmental and agroecological transition. Interview with Véronique Bellon-Maurel, coordinator of the Occitanum Innovation Region Laboratory

Published on 10 August 2020

illustration Occitanum, a French Innovation Region for digital agriculture
© INRAE, Marie-Louise Degaudez

How are digital technologies impacting the future of agriculture?

Digital technology can drive capacity building among agriculture and food stakeholders to support transformation in the industry. Alone, it does not trigger transformation – it is more like an “assistant” that speeds and facilitates the transformation that society wants, especially with regards to reducing inputs. It also helps stakeholders scale up environmentally friendly practices. For example, a manual practice that can be carried out on a small scale (such as early disease detection) may no longer be feasible or effective (e.g., delays) when scaling up, even on family farms.

In short, digital technologies will aid the agroecological transition by enabling problems to be detected earlier or recommendations (including for intra-plot or intra-flock systems) to be better adapted by taking into account farmers’ individual technical conditions and strategies. They also add value to products through transparency (traceability) around practices.


We believe that digital technologies will facilitate the transition to agroecology

What is an Innovation Region laboratory?

The Innovation Region programme, supported by the Secretariat General for Innovation, seeks to achieve open innovation. Each laboratory acts as a hub in a given region to connect various stakeholders (users, farmers, regional authorities, equipment suppliers, researchers etc.) to share their knowledge and ensure scientific rigour to create this “research-action” and capitalise on the data and knowledge produced.


What type of research is Occitanum conducting?

Occitanum is an abbreviation of Occitanie Agroécologie Numérique, or Occitanie digital agroecology. We believe that digital technologies will facilitate the transition to agroecology, which is not only what society wants but also a response to climate change and a way to transition to local food production with new logistical solutions. Our hypothesis is being tested in six production sectors (livestock farming, arable crops, viticulture, arboriculture, market gardening, apiculture) and distribution channels. Beyond this scope, we’re looking to develop new knowledge in agroecology from the data collected and to understand the dynamics of innovation within the Living Lab initiatives.





Véronique Bellon-Maurel Director of the Digital Agriculture Convergence Lab #DigitAg, coordinator of the Occitanum Innovation Region Laboratory



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