Jos Bijman and Pierre-Benoît Joly
LEI, the Netherlands & INRA, France

Technological innovation in the agrochemical, biotechnology, and seeds industries, and in associated public sector research establishments (PSREs) has the potential to deliver more socially and environmentally sustainable farming systems and to improve the quality of life of citizens in Europe. This is particularly true of farms on the most fertile land. However, although policies developed in different areas may all aim to improve the quality of life, in practice, in their influence on company and PSRE strategies, they frequently counteract one another and so attenuate the desired effect.

Market-related factors also influence decision making in industry and PSREs, the most important for the PITA project (Policy Influences on Technology for Agriculture) being the policies of food processors and distributors; and also public attitudes and opinion, which often set more demanding standards than those of national governments and the European Union (EU). Read more…