Innovation, the common thread of Fieragricola
The 112th edition of the Verona trade fair focuses on innovation and specialization of technologies for the primary sector. Space is given to political issues and agricultural mechanization, also under the renewed collaboration
Innovation as a driver of sustainability and the new challenges for agriculture: this is the common thread that accompanies the 112th edition of Fieragricola in Verona, from Wednesday 3 to Saturday 6 February 2016.
Producing more with less, to apply in the production stage the principles of the “Charter of Milan”, in which access to healthy, safe and nutritious food becomes a human right. It is impossible to practice these principles without the contribution of agriculture and new technologies.
“Fieragricola 2016 offers to give concrete answers to the exhibitors and visitors,” said the Chairman of Veronafiere, Ettore Riello. “Let’s not forget that, with 48 billion euros, Italy is the third largest agricultural country in Europe, after France and Germany, and it has a strong diversification and high specialization of its production chains, some of which, such as olive growing and wine production, have a high added value.”
Spotlight on cap and precision farming
The VeronaFiere event will be an opportunity to exchange views on the new Common Agricultural Policy, which assigns to Italy a fund of around 27 billion euros for the First Pillar (Direct Payments and single OCM) and 10.4 billion euros for the second pillar (rural development). “These are significant resources,” said Giovanni Mantovani, Director General of VeronaFiere, “able to support the investments of farms towards being competitive on a global scale, where the “Made in Italy” agriculture can compete on quality, thanks to 269 PDO, PGI and TSG products and 523 DOC, DOCG and IGT wines.” Innovation in agriculture is also in the sights of the government, which recently announced through the Minister of Agriculture Maurizio Martina its intention to launch the National Plan for the development of precision farming.
Wide space for agricultural engineering
Within the four pavilions that Fieragricola dedicated to agricultural mechanization, which are strengthened thanks to the renewed collaboration with FederUnacoma, the Federation of Italian agricultural machinery manufacturers, two will host specialized machines for vineyards and orchards, crops that characterize the Italian landscape and agriculture, and which have a significant market abroad. The full schedule of events aimed at wine growers will be organized in collaboration with UIV (Unione Italiana Vini - Italian Wine Union). Worthy of note are the practical workshops on vineyard “soft pruning” organized with the support of L’Informatore Agrario.
The recovery of agricultural mechanization, which in 2014 was affected by a drop in exports (-8.2%, with a total value of 1.415 billion euros), is achieved through increasingly customized offerings. To this end, the collaboration between Fieragricola and FederUnacoma is strategic, aimed at improving the exhibition offerings on a national scale and in the context of major international events dedicated to the primary sector, which Fieragricola belongs to.
The demonstration area for agricultural machinery and equipment (field and vineyard) will be further enhanced, with a focus on sustainability and innovation with particular reference to minimum tillage and sod seeding; precision farming (driver assistance systems, harvesting maps and on-board electronic information systems).
Big data for a new green revolution
Another factor that could trigger a new “Green Revolution” in the use of so-called big data. The new path began thanks to farmers who can count on large scales, in the United States, Russia, Latin America. In Italy, the most likely players might be agro-mechanical entrepreneurs, who in terms of robotics, computers and precision farming can count on cutting edge machinery and technologies. The promised benefits are significant, not only in economic terms but also environmentally: increased soil conservation, saving water resources, a reduction in processing times thus saving fuel, monitoring of soil fertility (with reduced use of agrochemicals) and yields in the field.
The “new entry”: drones
The 2016 edition of Fieragricola will also provide space for drones, tools that in some areas are showing their effectiveness, like in monitoring vineyards and crops in inaccessible areas, where machines or people would have greater difficulty, or in the integrated pest management of the corn borer in the Po Valley, or in mapping the surface of tomato crops.