The Sival trade fair was held in Angers, France on 14-16 January and brought together equipment manufacturers and suppliers of winegrowers, market gardeners and arboriculturalists. It provided an excellent barometer to measure the dynamism of these specialised productions.
A host of innovations were showcased in varietal selection, crop protection and robotics. The Sival d’Or Award was presented to a new variety of pear, the CH201, which can be found in stores under the name ‘Fred’. In addition to its taste qualities, this Swiss pear has six months shelf life and is tolerant to fire blight.
Also presented was a biofungicide technique deriving from a very common yeast strain in the Saccharomyces family which can hinder the spread of pathogens. Researchers speak of spatial and nutritional competition. The good yeasts sprayed on a plant create a shield by occupying the ecological niche of botrytis, which destroys grapes, and moniliosis, which causes fruit to rot.
In terms of the robotics and machinery on display, Trektor is the first hybrid agricultural robot capable of weeding a vine including between vines, for eight hours without breaking the crust. This will allow farmers to raise productivity and cut costs at times when hiring agricultural staff has become a challenge.
The US-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA) came into force on January 1, 2020. Once USJTA is fully implemented, up to 90% of all US food and agricultural products imported into Japan will be duty free or receive preferential tariff access. Japan is a key trading partner for the US. In 2018, the US exported $318 million of fresh fruit to Japan, making Japan the 4th largest overseas market for US fresh fruit. The US was the source of one third of Japan’s fresh fruit imports and the leading supplier of fresh oranges, lemons, grapes and cherries. Japan will apply a seasonal US-specific safeguard for oranges starting at 26,435 tons. The safeguard only applies to products imported between December 1 and March 31. If the safeguard volume is exceeded, tariffs on US orange exports will increase for the remainder of that period. The safeguard tariff is 28% in Years 1-3 and 20% in Years 4-6. The safeguard will be eliminated in Year 7 (2025).
Spanish producers are counting the cost of a deadly weather front that struck last week. Storm Gloria is reported to have wreaked the worst damage on citrus and vegetable production along the country’s eastern coast between Barcelona and Murcia, with losses estimated to run to €46 million.
Winds reaching over 110km per hour left a lot of fruit on the ground. Valencian agricultural association Ava-Asaja reported many farms still being under water days later, raising fears about the prospects for the second half of the campaign if conditions persist. Some flooded fields are expected to see whole crops wiped out. In recently planted potato and onions fields, farmers will be forced to replant. In terms of vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes and lettuce are among the worst affected crops.
One benefit of the heavy rains is that the region’s reservoirs have been replenished, easing water restrictions. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said in a statement on Wednesday that all production losses from Gloria would be covered by the National Agrarian Insurance Plan. This includes losses to next year’s harvest resulting from damage to farms.
The fourth edition of the International Forum of Agricultural Robotics (FIRA) will be held in Toulouse (France) on 10-11 December, 2019. The event is organised by the Global Organization for Agricultural Robotics (GOFAR), in partnership with Meister Media Worldwide and its brands including PrecisionAg, CropLife, AgriBusiness Global, and Growing Produce. Since its first year, FIRA’s exhibition area has tripled, and the event will feature conferences, roundtables, and high-quality technical workshops. 15 robots will be presented and a first scientific symposium will be organised by Robagri.
For the first time, 15 manufacturers of agricultural robots will be exhibiting. These robots perform agricultural tasks from helping with weed management to providing logistic support. The exhibiting manufacturers include: Naïo Technologies, Ecorobotix, Agrointelli, Vitibot, Tibot, Deepfield Robotics, Sony CSL, Rhoban System, Instar Robotics, Farmwise, SITIA, and Meropy.
The first day of conferences and roundtables will be more field-oriented. There will also be a session on ethical and societal issues in agricultural robotics presented by Alexei Grinbaum (author and researcher at CEA-Saclay). Roundtables will discuss the global market for agricultural robotics per major region, as well as the issues of the standardisation of these autonomous machines in Europe and worldwide.
The second day will focus on facilitating meetings and exchanges between the players of the sector, with pitches and presentation of the robots on-site, followed by business appointments and opportunities for partnerships.
TAGS: FIRA, robotics, agriculture, event
On Thursday 23 May 2019, FruitVegetablesEUROPE (EUCOFEL) met in Brussels with other European and national associations in the agricultural sector to discuss how to address concerns about the EU’s trade policy. At the meeting, the “Alliance for the Defence of European Agriculture” (ADEA) was formed.
The Alliance is pro-European and calls for support from the newly elected MEPs to defend and promote European farmers and products, and ensure a level-playing field in trade agreements with third countries.
FruitVegetablesEUROPE’s President, Juan Marín, said: “The Alliance wants greater determination from the EU institutions to insist that all imports of agri-food products meet exactly the same standards imposed on European producers.”
In addition to these food-safety requirements, there needs to be more focus on the environmental and social sustainability criteria when negotiating trade agreements with third countries.
The Alliance collectively demands that:
– European agriculture is not undermined in trade agreements with third countries;
– Imported products respect the same production standards as those imposed on European producers, both in conventional and organic farming;
– European consumers have access to transparent information regarding the differences between EU production models and those of third countries;
– European consumers understand and support the social and cultural aspects of the EU farming.
The Alliance is open to all sectors willing to defend the EU agriculture.
The founding members of the Alliance are:
- FruitVegetablesEUROPE (EUCOFEL)
- FEPEX – Spanish Federation of fruit and vegetables producers & exporters (Spain)
- CGC – Spanish Citrus Management Committee (Spain)
- APROA – Association of Producer Organisations of Fruit and Vegetables of Andalusia (Spain)
- UGPBAN – French Banana sector (France)
- ASPROCAN – Spanish Banana sector (Spain)
- GESBA – Portuguese Banana sector (Portugal) APEB – European Banana Association (EU)
- ANPCA- Spanish Garlic producers and traders (Spain
- KZGPOiW- Polish national Association of fruit and vegetables producer groups (Poland)
- AOPn Tomato & Cucumber from France (France)
- INCOFRUIT Hellas (Greece)
- The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (Ireland)
- The European Sugar Manufacturer’s Association (EU)
- The European Beet Growers (EU)