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Ministers Šinko and Stojmenova Duh about the progress of digitalisation in agriculture project

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Irena Šinko, and the Minister of Digital Transformation, Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh, met today at the second meeting with students and mentors from four faculties. They presented the progress in the project entitled The Possibilities for Digitalising Farms with Young Owners, for which the research phase has concluded.
Ministers Šinko and Stojmenova Duh are sitting at the table listening.

Minister Irena Šenko and Minister of Digital Transformation Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh | Author Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food

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Today’s meeting of a group of students and both ministers followed the introductory meeting in October, at which the purpose, objectives and necessary steps to the final phase of the project were presented and the guidelines for the start of work were acquired. Today, the research phase of the project was presented. It included 31 farms or young owners/farmers, and many visits to various events and exhibitions were implemented. The researchers acquired a lot of new information and data in the field about the problems, obstacles and other needs of young owners of farms. In the research, the participants also identified areas which are holding back Slovenian agriculture and they also detected some “nuts and granite rocks that need to be cracked”.

Minister Irena Šinko commended the exceptional engagement of students and their drive in this project, which will provide important guidelines and bases for the ministry's work in the future. “Your presentation proves that you have detected specific problems that we also face when conducting our work and various activities. Collaboration, promotion and greater sales of quality products at home is the message that we all must hear. Therefore, it is important that, also with the help of this project, we start directing the problems in agriculture in another direction. Guidelines within the scope of this project will also be important for the implementation and correction of the new common agricultural policy.”

The Minister of Digital Transformation, Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh, addressed the participants: “I’m already looking forward to the next phase of the project that will include resolving challenges or problems that have been detected while carrying out interviews with students. Digitalisation plays an important role here. We too often only mention it within promotion, while its importance has a wider scope. Digitalisation is key also in processing and rationally using various data, in spatial planning or simplified dealings with bureaucracy. We are here to support you.”

During the first research phase, the students also benefited greatly from the Slovenian Rural Youth Association, which has good information about young people in agriculture and insight into the situation in the field. At the meeting, the representatives of the Federation highlighted the students' enthusiasm for their work and the lessons they had learnt, including how to solve problems.

The project will continue by identifying a few key problems and focusing on finding solutions. The two ministries will support the project with the necessary additional information and answers that will be needed for the final phase of the project. The preparation of the projects will last until May 2023, when the students and professors will present the results of their work at a joint reunion and link them to the relevant stakeholders who can facilitate their realisation. The project has been carried out for several years in a row at the University of Ljubljana by four member institutions (Academy of Fine Arts, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Computer Science and Informatics and Faculty of Economics) in the multidisciplinary course Interdisciplinary Projects. Students in interdisciplinary teams, under multidisciplinary mentoring, solve industry challenges, and for 2023 the faculties have set themselves the challenge of the digital transformation of agriculture, to identify the most pressing problems of young farm entrepreneurs and to find appropriate solutions.