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High-tech strategies for small farmers and organic farming

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Organic farming can benefit from technological developments and innovative solutions. Photo _c_Pixabay_LaurentSchmidt.jpg

Organic farming can benefit from technological developments and innovative solutions. The conference „Revolution in Food and Biomass Production (REFAB)” in Cologne will take place on October 1st and 2nd.Technological developments and innovative solutions that can shape the future of organic farming and support smallholders worldwide will be presented at the two days event where participant can meet leading companies and researchers.

„It is easy to get the impression that organic farming and new technologies are mutually exclusive. But, quite the opposite, REFAB will present exciting technologies and concepts that optimise organic farming while at the same time staying true to its principles“, explain the organisers of the conference.

Examples will show that. Dr. Alok Adholeya from TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre will present an innovative and sustainable approach based on the integration of mycorrhiza fungi and nano-bio-stimulants. It can increase the agricultural productivity of many farmers in the world in an environmentally friendly way. Anil Rajvanshi, director of Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in India, will show how modern precision farming, the Internet of Things and even 3D printers can help turn the country’s smallholder agriculture an attractive and rewarding industry.

Samir Sodaiya of Godavari Biorefineries Ltd., also from India, presents a different approach. He shows how a biorefinery can not only produce sugar from sugar cane, but also create further valuable products from side streams and “waste”. Godavari also promotes and improves sustainable agriculture through improvements such as drip irrigation, precision agriculture and agro-ecological practices.

Reduce poverty and preserve biodiversity

Support for smallholders can not only reduce poverty in rural areas, but also preserve biodiversity: Gero Leson from Dr. Bronner’s Magical Soaps presents their dynamic agroforestry in Ghana, India and Samoa, from where the company receives its coconut, palm and mint oil supply. And Julius Ecuru from the BioInnovate Africa Program (BAP) shows how native plants and new technologies can be used profitably by local smallholders in East Africa, e.g. through novel enzymes, alternative products made from millet or public-private partnerships.

Finally, there is also great potential for organic farming innovation in industrialised countries; modern robotics, for example, can combat weeds precisely and without chemicals. Many new ideas are specifically tailored to specific problems: At REFAB, Björn Lagerman of FriBi holding AB presents the BeeScanning App. With a smartphone camera and the app, beekeepers can fight the Varroa destructor parasite mite while observing other properties of the hive. The tool not only allows to diagnose the health of the hive, but also forms a basis for population modelling and breeding programmes.

50 speakers and “Future Protein Award”

A total of 50 speakers will present the future of food and biomass production. The conference will be accompanied by the “Future Protein Award”, where up and coming companies will present their innovative food or protein concepts made from CO2, insects, algae, bacteria and cell-cultured meat in the accompanying exhibition. The conference topics can choose their favourites and at the end the most convincing concepts will be awarded.

Until the end of July you can still register for the conference at an early bird discount, with additional discounts for participants from developing countries.


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