The European Commission’s agriculture and rural development department will benefit from knowledge and information sharing on the bioeconomy with the new Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre, launched on 20 July 2017.
Set up by and for the European Commission, the central knowledge hub will facilitate evidence-based policies for agriculture and rural development in the sector by providing comprehensive knowledge on the bioeconomy, including data, information and expertise.
Agriculture and rural development plays a significant role in developing the bioeconomy. This type of economy includes the use of renewable biological resources from land and sea to produce food, bioenergy and materials. In the case of agriculture and rural areas, resources come from forests, crops and animals.
The Commission’s department of agriculture and rural development is investing in the future of the bioeconomy, for example by promoting innovation in this area through its EU rural development policy.
For the period of 2014-20, managing authorities have programmed activities under this policy for more than €800 million. This is planned to generate, among others, a total investment of €2.7 billion for renewable energy production. On-farm and local energy production maintain and create jobs in rural areas where the agricultural or forest biomass is manufactured.
With this funding, various projects around Europe are put in place, further developing the bioeconomy. For example, a Romanian dairy producer built a renewable energy unit, with the help of the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD). The unit uses by-products from milk production, such as manure or milk waste, and transforms it into biogas. This helped reduce the farm’s energy consumption, cutting the gas emissions to almost zero. Additionally the biogas production unit enabled a decrease in production costs, and therefore increased the farm’s profitability and competitiveness on the long term.