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Personalised public services in support of the implementation of the CAP

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RECAP (Personalised public services in support of the implementation of the CAP)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-10-31

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU has increasingly been adapted to better serve farming systems sustainability & especially, the monitoring of the environmental requirements through the Cross Compliance (CC). However, the complexity & diversity of monitoring these obligations lead to high administrative costs & time-consuming procedures for the regional Paying Agencies (PA) & also entail private costs & administrative burdens to farmers. Furthermore, this large body of regulations has the potential for farmers to misunderstand or become confused about the standards required for their farm, which might lead to non-compliance & then penalisation of the farmer. In addition, the EC has adopted new rules which allow a range of modern technologies to be used as evidence when checking farmers’ fulfilment of requirements under the CAP for area-based payments & CC requirements.
RECAP is a commercial platform that contributes to the digitilisation, simplification & modernisation of the CAP; enabling the compliance monitoring procedure of the CC and Greening Measures. RECAP builds on the use of open and user-generated datasets varying from open satellite and other spatial data to administrative data from public authorities and data generated by farmers and inspectors.
Over the last 30 months, RECAP intensively researched and worked on how the use of open satellite & user-generated data can support the implementation of CAP, enable the transition towards a guidance-based system, supporting farmers to understand CAP rules & comply with them, instead of penalizing them for non-compliance, while at the same time reduce the administrative cost for PA. Throughout the project lifetime, users had a central role being the cornerstone of the overall development. RECAP followed the principle of “creating with the users, for the users” allowing the capitalisation of existing knowledge of the beneficiaries into the innovative solution developed. Based on these consultations &on partners’ test cases feedback, adaptations have been performed in the RECAP platform. Thus, five different technologies have been developed facilitating the full exploitation of the RECAP solution & matching the needs of all involved stakeholders: a web & mobile application; the Spatial & Remote Sensing (RS) components; the Application Programming Interface (API) & the Software Development Kit (SDK). All aforementioned RECAP technologies have been tested & validated through the 2nd reporting period of the project, in operational environments of five different pilot cases, delivering the final RECAP solution. During the pilot implementation more than 750 farmers were involved declaring that through the RECAP solution the necessary time for preparing their BPS application was reduced by 64% as well as the time for preparing the documents for the inspection was reduced by 79%. Moreover, they stated that the RECAP solution is a useful tool for their compliance, disregarding any irrelevant CC requirement, increasing their understanding of CC rules, & therefore decreasing the likelihood of breaking any CC rule. In total, 455 inspections have been undertaken by the authorised personnel, with 123 of them being on the spot checks, in order to test whether the information gathered & generated through the RECAP platform was accurate & representative. The rest of the inspections have been performed remotely, mainly making use of & validating the RECAP RS component. Therefore, using the RECAP solution for the inspections, both on the spot and remotely, on the one hand, they managed to reduce the time needed to inspect a farmer’s compliance & on the other hand, to increase the number of parcels inspected. 470 agricultural consultants participated in the pilot implementation declared that the RECAP solution offered them with added value services such as the ability to view multiple farmer BPS, list of crop codes & parcels through the SDK. Moreover, they stated that using the RECAP solution the necessary time for preparing farmer’s BPS application & the documents for the imminent inspection was reduced approximately by 75%. They also indicated that the RECAP solution enables them to store CC rule documents, especially geotagged photos, for multiple farmers & reuse them at any given point.
Within the project implementation specific activities focused on the development of exploitation strategy for the sustainability of the RECAP solutions after the end of the project. RECAP has structured a well-established Network of Interest (NoI) with more than 8,000 stakeholders from various domains (e.g. paying agencies, agricultural consultants, researchers, official bodies, etc.) from all over Europe. Furthermore, more than 12,000 farmers & more than 1,400 agricultural consultants were informed about the project. Special attention was also paid in the development of a concrete & detailed Business plan, mapping the competitors & identifying further possibilities for its use and development after the end of the project.
RECAP contributes to the digitalization, simplification & modernization of the CAP & addresses existing gaps in compliance & monitoring processes, while facilitating the translation of CAP into farming practices. As RECAP is a user-driven solution, co-designed and co-created by its end-users, seven different technologies have been developed facilitating the full exploitation of the RECAP solution & matching the needs of all involved stakeholders: a web and mobile application, offering to farmers personalized guidance on the CC rules and more targeted on-field inspections for PA. Both the web & mobile application have been designed following a user-centric approach aiming to an efficient experienced; the Spatial component, which enables the combined visualization of various open datasets as layers on the top of the RECAP map. This component allows PA & agricultural consultants to perform spatial queries & use GIS tools for spatial analysis; the Remote Sensing (RS) component, which enables the identification of potential breaches of CC rules by PA & inspectors. Using the indices & results that derived from the RS component (i.e. crop type classification, risk estimation products, vegetation and crop monitoring indices) & in combination with geo-information & user-generated data, PA & inspectors gain an improved remote monitoring of farmers’ obligations & supplement the in-field inspections procedures; the Traffic light system which enables a smart sampling for the inspections offering better control system & more targeted on-field inspections; the Application Programming Interface (API), which provides access to data available to RECAP based on security & privacy policies & supports technical integration with external systems; the Software Development Kit (SDK), which stimulates the development of new added value services by agricultural consultants & developers using libraries an&d communication with the database under an open approach & the offline mode which mode allows RECAP mobile users with limited or no internet access, to utilise the RECAP features without having an active internet connection.
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