Romania uses AI to help farmers apply for EU funds

Romania utilizes AI to assist farmers in applying for EU funds, with the help of robots developed by UiPath. This automation has streamlined processes, enabling the processing of billions in funding and saving staff time. Despite Romania’s digital challenges, this innovative approach has significantly improved operational efficiency, benefiting over 50,000 stakeholders. The success of this technology showcases its global potential in the agricultural sector.

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The Agency for Financing Rural Investments (AFIR) in Romania is pioneering AI to streamline the application process for the EU funds, marking a significant step forward for one of the EU’s less digitally developed economies. AFIR officials pointed out that they started using robots from software automation company UI Path over two years ago.

According to AFIR director George Chirita, AI-based automation has played a crucial role in expediting key processes for farmers and enhancing overall efficiency. Since implementing the robots, the agency has processed financing requests totalling 5.32 billion euros from over 50,000 stakeholders. Additionally, these robots have collectively saved approximately 784 days’ worth of document searches for AFIR staff, significantly streamlining operations. Over the past two decades, AFIR has successfully disbursed 21 billion euros in funds, highlighting the significant impact of automation on its operations.

Why does it matter?

Romania, a burgeoning tech hub with a skilled workforce, faces challenges in providing digital public services and accessing the EU development funds. Eurostat data indicates that only 28% of Romanians possess basic digital skills, well below the EU average of 54%. Moreover, the country’s digital public service offerings rank significantly lower than the EU average, hindering the country’s ability to fully leverage the EU development funds.

Despite these hurdles, UiPath, a Romanian tech company valued at $13.3 billion after its public listing on the New York Stock Exchange, has expanded its reach globally by providing automation services to various organizations, including farming agencies in Norway and the United States, demonstrating the widespread applicability of such technology in the agricultural sector.