There is a lot of talk about the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy, the ten-year plan devised by the European Commission to guide the ecological transition towards a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system.
It is one of the seven policies the Green New Deal is based on to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and introduce practices that respect the environment.
FreshPlaza talked about it with Bruno Caggia, president of "Produttori Associati Citrosol Soc. Coop. Agr", who explained that "the main objectives of the Farm to Fork strategy are a 20% reduction in the use of fertilizers by 2030, halving the use of plant protection products within 2050 and reaching 25% of organic crops within 2030."
These are major commitments for which there is no compromise. But how to approach the issue and, most of all, how is Citrosol getting ready to reach these objectives?
"Over the next few years, we will focus on sustainability even more. We need to implement innovative solutions such as bio-control to reduce the use of plant protection products, improve automation, reach a higher digitalization of processes, implement robotics, adopt blockchain solutions and use high-tech agricultural machines and IT. The aim is to employ precision agricultural techniques thanks to the data provided by the sensors and using the energy from renewable resources, self-produced by the company taking advantage of the sun, wind and agricultural waste."
Above: sensors installed in a greenhouse
Reducing waste and production excesses has been one of the main objectives of the cooperative, which has developed a software to plan transplants according to the deliveries agreed upon with the clients. Producing according to sales contributes to reducing production excesses and, therefore, waste."
Acting in advance is key
"One of our associates is developing a whole series of defense strategies, using bio-control to halve the use of plant protection products by 2030, i.e. 20 years earlier than planned by the European Union. AI has already been employed to manage the climate inside greenhouses and, thanks to the sensors, it manages to reduce the water and fertilizers used and to effectively control the micro-climate. Robotics and machine conversion will be the next step."
Above: chart of the climate inside a greenhouse featuring an AI system
"As regards the objective of having 25% of organic crops by 2030, we believe we can reach it early. Already in 2016, the cooperative has initiated a project for the commercialization of organic products from new members which, in just a few years, has led us to supplying some of the leading European distribution chains. There is still a long way to go to reach 25%, but we are growing constantly, so we are on the right path."
Voglio Bio cherry tomatoes
The cooperative and its three product lines
30% of Produttori Associati Citrosol's turnover is made on the international market, as partners of some of the main supermarket chains. The cooperative holds some of the leading certifications and is part of Apo Conerpo and Consorzio di Tutela Pomodoro di Pachino IGP. The three product lines are Fatti col Cuore™, Voglio Bio® - Voglio benessere and, of course, Citrosol.
For further information:
Produttori Associati Citrosol Soc. Coop. Agr.
Sede operativa: Strada per Resinè, km 4,2
97019 Vittoria (Rg) – ITALY
+ 39 0932 1836200