Representatives from 19 entities hailing from the regions of Andalusia, Extremadura, Galicia, Algarve, Alentejo, and Northern Portugal, all associated with the innovation and entrepreneurship sector, gathered in Seville for a two-day collaboration event. Their aim was to discuss the shared needs and opportunities presented by digital enabling technologies in the agri-food sector of the regions involved in the cross-border cooperation project known as Interreg Spain-Portugal (POCTEP) Hub Iberia Agrotech (HIBA).
Carmen Crespo, the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development of Andalusia, the entity in charge of coordinating HIBA, underscored the significance of this cross-border project. Notably, it has been instrumental in monitoring over 300 companies operating within the Hispanic-Portuguese territory. Elena de Miguel, the Director of the Joint Secretariat POCTEP, also highlighted the project's advancements in agro-digitalization for Spain and Portugal, emphasizing the pivotal role played by Interreg projects in fostering equality among European territories.
The project's mission entailed establishing a pluriregional ecosystem to drive agro-digitalization through Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH). This endeavour rested upon five fundamental pillars: advisory services, entrepreneurship, training, experimentation, and awareness.
This European initiative boasts several achievements, including the creation of a training and experimentation platform that engaged prominent entities in agri-food digitization, spanning both vocational and university education. Moreover, a service platform has been devised, poised to be offered by the DIH network comprising Andalusia, Extremadura, Galicia, and Portugal. This network aims to facilitate the digitalization of agri-food SMEs in Spain and Portugal.
HIBA has also organized informative sessions on diverse technologies, an open innovation program designed to tackle the challenges faced by agri-food companies in the region, and diagnostic gatherings assessing the state of digitalization in different regions.
During the event, the primary conclusions drawn from these discussions in Andalusia, Extremadura, Galicia, and Portugal were presented. Across the board, the imperative to work on new technologies, communication and awareness, connectivity, financing, and training was duly recognized.
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