The Institute for Agrifood Technology and Infrastructures of Navarra (INTIA) is a public company attached to the Department of Rural Development, Environment and Local Administration of the Government of Navarra, Spain. INTIA offers advanced market-oriented services for the development of the agrifood sector based on quality, efficiency, innovation and sustainability criteria. INTIA includes a section with qualified staff offering training and technical advice on agriculture and livestock that enables recording of technical and economic data of farms to analyze and improve their performance. During the last years, INTIA´s R&D section researchers have been involved in different projects related with sustainability analysis of farming systems, in order to add new indicators (including social and environmental ones).
One of the most relevant projects was FLINT. This European project provided an updated data-infrastructure needed by the agro-food sector and policy makers to provide up to date information on farm level indicators on sustainability and other new relevant issues. INTIA also participates in farm-level data recording for FADN (Farm Accountancy Data Network), specially related to farm economics, but increasingly related to the environmental (amount of nitrogen and phosphor) , animal welfare, technology and innovation topics. INTIA further improves methodologies with the aim of evaluating farms performance in terms of sustainability.
INTIA first started with the recording of economical data and the service has evolved during the years, always based on a advisor-farmer peer-to-peer relationship. The set of indicators developed by INTIA gives the oportunity to stablish improvements on farms with poor results.
A bottleneck may be the willingness of the farmers to participate. At first, they were not convinced of the value of the results of these assessment. Factors of success therefore are:
1. confidence and good relationship with farmers
2. dispose of an experienced advisory team
3. availability of a strong R&D department
The analysis of data gives the opportunity to the farmers to make short and long term planning, trying to reduce their weaknesses. Indicators as net margin are essential for their planning. Data management (for example commercialization) enables farms to deal with possible risks. As the environmental impact is concerned the fertilization data provides helpful information to manage more efficiently its use in order to reduce nutrient leaching and improve the quality of water.
More detailed information about the FLINT project you can find at:
Author: Damiana Maiz Barrutia - INTIA