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Digital Opportunities for Better Agricultural Policies

image of Digital Opportunities for Better Agricultural Policies

Recent digital innovations provide opportunities to deliver better policies for the agriculture sector by helping to overcome information gaps and asymmetries, lower policy-related transaction costs, and enable people with different preferences and incentives to work better together. Drawing on ten illustrative case studies and unique new data gathered via an OECD questionnaire on agri-environmental policy organisations' experiences with digital tools, this report explores opportunities to improve current agricultural and agri-environmental policies, and to deliver new, digitally enabled and information-rich policy approaches. It also considers challenges that organisations may face to make greater use of digital tools for policy, as well as new risks which increased use of digital tools may bring. The report provides practical advice on how policy makers can address challenges and mitigate risks to ensure digital opportunities for policy are realised in practice. Finally, the report briefly considers the broader regulatory and policy environment underpinning digitalisation of the agriculture sector, with the view to ensuring that use of digital tools for agricultural and agri-environmental policy remains coherent with the digitalisation of agriculture more generally.

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Agri-environmental policy components and policy mechanisms

The policy cycle shown in conceptual framework for analysing use of digital technologies for better agricultural and agri-environmental policies (Figure 2.1 of the main report) is a stylised representation of the broad components undertaken to design, successfully implement, and evaluate an agri-environmental policy. In that figure, the components are set out linearly; it is acknowledged that the particular components and ordering of components for a particular policy will depend on context – the emphasis here is on considering the usefulness of digital technologies for each component. The components, drawn from the literature on agri-environmental policy design (see for example, OECD (2008[1]) and OECD (2010[2]), are:

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