Knowledge Management Platform

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CAP Eco-Practice Knowledge Base

CAPTIVATE project developed this web-based tool that allows the representation of EU and national level legislation relationships and also to connect them with farming practice descriptions. The actual requirements to be implemented by farmers are mostly contained in the national regulations, but these are closely connected and referenced to the EU level legislation (which is also the common entry point in our E+ project platform), and the relationships can often get too complex to represent them all in a plain spreadsheet, therefore we decided to create a web-based tool as simple as possible, where our experts can add and describe rules, regulations, farming practices, and connect them in a meaningful manner.

PR1 Result Description

There are numerous information resources available which list the available support (subsidy, grant) opportunities and regulations for agricultural producers and rural entrepreneurs, such as the EURLEX at the EU level, and the national platforms as well (ministry, paying agency portals).

However, their content is not represented in a user friendly way, to be easily searchable and understandable for farmers. Most of the regulations are rather lengthy, consisting of many pages of legal language, while the relevant content - matching the everyday farming context - is usually not highlighted and explained well enough. There are occasional blogs and newsletters by certain professional organisations providing more in depth details, but these are not systematic enough. This situation is even more profound in relation with the practices of sustainable farming, organic production and other techniques realized at the smallholder and family farmer level, which is also less targeted by the commercial input sector.

Concerning the availability of information resources on organic farming, climate smart techniques, precision agriculture methods, and other sustainable practices, the reliable and professionally validated data is scarcer, but exists (such as the Organic Farm Knowledge Platform by FiBL). What is especially missing is a common entry point which can display and support decision making from both angles: the available funding mechanisms connected with the required farming methods.
Our project aims to fill this hole, starting with the first project result, by introducing the first main innovation, systematically processing the relevant parts of support regulations, extracting the rules and requirements meaningful for farmers, and linking them with the detailed description of relevant good practice methods.

The knowledge base will be structured (and implemented in PR3) to let users access it from two main viewpoints: 1) those seeking funding opportunities can find out and get familiar with the related farming practices; 2) those already implementing or having interest in introducing new eco-practices may find relevant funding opportunities and description of the conditions.

The represented KB content will be formulated in a way to fully support the development of the learning modules in the next project steps as well. With PR1 we are targeting both main groups of our participants: the “end users”, i.e. farmers, producers, land owners, rural entrepreneurs; as well as the members of their knowledge extension network (advisors, specialists, etc). We expect the main impacts realized at the agricultural production and management level to be multiple, by selection of the proper farming practice(s) and CAP support scheme(s) that is the most suitable for the situation of the particular smallholder will, on one hand, stimulate and inspire more sustainable methods, applying more environmental-friendly techniques, using less input more precisely, improving the quality of products (therefore the overall economic results as well), on the other hand, increase the efficiency of CAP support implementation, which can be gained both on the farmer and policy side. The transferability is supported by the fact that each EU country is under the same regulatory system, while the farming practices are also similar, however, slightly varied by geographic areas, regions, climatic zones, type of crops, farming traditions etc. The Knowledge Base will be made available by PR3 on the online platform using a multilingual interface in English and in the project languages. The PR5 Guidelines will provide detailed information on the process, methodology and examples of connected content. This work phase also enables us to provide feedback for policymakers how well the CAP legislation / nationally adapted requirements can be (or cannot be) connected with the reality of farming by the experience of applying certain practices.

Division of work, the tasks leading to the production of the result and the applied methodology

The division of tasks, setting the time frame, working rate of leading and participating partners on the different activities leading to this project result is indicated in our Gantt / budget table, attached to the proposal annexes. Developing the Knowledge Base requires the implementation of four main work steps.

A) Processing current CAP regulations - 2021.11.01./2022.07.31.
Many elements of the new CAP are focusing on sustainable farming, setting up the so-called “new green architecture”, including conditionality requirements of direct payments, the eco-schemes (under Pillar I) and rural development measures as well (under Pillar II). We will systematically process the relevant legislation and extract the information which is practically meaningful for their realization at the farm level. It is important to highlight that we will be able to use the available legislation in force, as well as partially reviewing the EU’s relevant preparatory documents and published initiatives (and some preview documents close to finalisation), and represent the content of our knowledge base according to that status. This also means that we will have to update at the time when the new regulations are published, alongside with the opening of certain support schemes. However, realizing this work step (activity A) will let us do the majority of work, develop the methodology, structure, core content, therefore enabling us for swift update, in activity D.

Number of processed regulations: >=20
Number of selected and described rules: >=200

B) Processing best eco-practices - 2021.11.01./2022.07.31. The overview, selection and mapping of best eco- practices, which are the most suitable to meet the certain CAP regulations is to be carried out. The result, together with the previous step, will be represented in a structured format suitable for PR3, to publish the content in a user-friendly online knowledge base, and serve as the foundation of learning content for green skills.
Number of identified themes: >=6
Number of practice descriptions: >=50

C) Connecting legislation with practices - 2022.04.01./2023.12.31.
We will create a common entry point that can visualize and support decision-making on both sides: linking the available funding mechanisms to the required farming methods, after systematically processing the relevant parts of the support regulations, subtracting rules and requirements that can be interpreted for farmers and linking them to a detailed description of good practice methods. The knowledge base will be structured (and implemented in PR3) so that users can access it from two main perspectives:
1) those seeking support opportunities can be informed and get familiar with the related farming practices;
2) existing implementers or those interested in introducing new ecological practices can find relevant support options and a description of the conditions.
Number of rules linked to good practices: rules >=100; practices>=30

D) Updating the KB by new CAP regulations - 2022.10.01./2023.12.31. As mentioned above, at the time of starting the project and during the next couple of months (actually in about a year’s distance), all legislative details and implementation rules will not have been made available. Therefore we design the first step to collect and process the current materials, create the structure, develop a working methodology and represent the starting content, by the ‘old’ CAP rules. However, upon the availability of the new legislation, and also using some preparatory documents, we will immediately start updating our knowledge base.

Number of processed regulations: >=20
Number of selected and described rules: >=200

Knowledge Base Short Hint:

The CAPTIVATE digital platform provides access to the innovative results of the project from a common online entry point, supporting their use and sharing. Its main elements are the CAP Knowledge Base, the EAD Sustainability Assessment Tool and the Distance Learning System.