Greenhouse horticulture will be one of the hot topics of the 36th edition of Macfrut, 8-10 May in Rimini, with the Greenhouse Technology Village and an international conference.
By 2050, the world’s population will reach 10 billion and, as a result, the fruit and vegetable demand will amount to 3.5 billion tonnes, which is 900 million tonnes more than today. The population is expected to concentrate more and more in large metropolitan areas, whereas crops will need to have cultivation systems capable of generating higher yields through intensive crop cultivation. This will be achieved mainly by growing crops in “climate controlled environments”, which are less susceptible to risks associated with a growing number of harmful pathogens and climate change.
This premise is the starting point for the double initiative dedicated to the horticultural revolution of Cesena Fiera, which during the 36th edition of Macfrut – to be held from 8 to 10 May in Rimini – will address this topic thanks to the Greenhouse Technology Village and an international conference entitled “The future of greenhouse farming and greenhouse farming in the future”.
The Greenhouse Technology Village will be an area dedicated to greenhouse horticulture innovation that will host manufacturers of technologies, materials and technical equipment, seed companies and nurserymen. In this specialised setting, located at the East entrance, some of the innovations that are set to become daily working tools for producers will be presented.
On this occasion, Macfrut also announces a proposal: to convert disused industrial sites into centres of excellence in horticulture innovation. This sector has undergone a major revolution and currently allows top-quality produce to be grown in small areas, without climatic influence and with considerable energy savings. In protected horticulture, both hardware and software technology play a crucial role in production and management processes. Greenhouses where temperature, humidity, light and nutrient intake can be controlled and managed through fertigation are steadily gaining importance. The advantages of using natural resources more efficiently are becoming increasingly evident: greenhouse crops allow water and chemical fertiliser consumption to be optimised and environmental impact to be reduced to a minimum, since, in a protected environment, fewer plant protection products are required to grow crops.
In addition to this exhibition, an international conference is also scheduled for Thursday 9 May. During the event, organised with the scientific cooperation of Cecilia Stanghellini of the Greenhouse Horticulture Unit of Wageningen University & Research (WUR), trends in horticultural production for the European and global fresh produce market will be examined, as well as the latest trends in production technology. Speakers from the Netherlands (Cindy van Rijswick, Fresh Produce Analyst at Rabobank), Spain (Roberto García Torrente, Director Innovación Agroalimentaria Cajamar, Almeria), Morocco and Eastern Europe (Paolo Battistel, Ceres) will share their experiences.
These countries have invested in new above ground production techniques (substrate, NFT systems, Floating System, climate control and artificial lighting in greenhouses, etc.) and are now leading players in the global vegetable market. An overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the sector in Italy – which is now exploiting the benefits of renewable energies – will be provided. This topic will be addressed by Stefania de Pascale (University of Naples), Giorgio Prosdocimi Gianquinto (University of Bologna) and Massimo Lucchini (Idromeccanica Lucchini), followed by a round table on “What is necessary to make Italian greenhouse farming future-proof?”.
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Elena Vincenzi/Jessica Sabatini