Startup Europe Smart Agrifood Summit, which took place in Malaga, hosted a discussion table on innovation as a factor of competitiveness and sustainability in the global agri-food sector.
Fabrizio Rossio, leader of the program ‘Sustainable Use of the Earth’ (SLU) in EIT Climate-KIC, moderator of the table, started with a brief introduction about the relevant role of innovation and knowledge communities (EIT), driven by the European Union, to create communities of innovators who are capable of “accelerating a new model of sustainable economy and combating climate change.”
Esther Esteban, director of the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA), stressed the need to “encourage private investment so that innovation and technology are present in the production system.” For this reason, Esteban set the objective of “the leadership of companies as a critical factor” in an increasingly competitive field where R&D&I acquires special relevance.
Marta Esteve, responsible for communication of EIT Climate-KIC in Spain, made special emphasis on the need to “unite companies, universities, and administration to work on a common project” where it also incorporates public administrations because “they are those in charge of establishing the legal bases.” Esteve also affirmed that “the agri-food sector must bet on innovation in line with the boom of the circular economy,” through the conversion and use of waste, with the aim of transforming them into “new business opportunities.”
Manuel Pérez, co-founder of Agrosap and director of the Digital Master of Agri-Food Agriculture and Innovation at the University of Seville (ETSIA), highlighted the importance of “creating profiles capable of supporting technology companies” to establish a link with final consumers and “reach the traceability of the field and add value to the agri-food chain.” In this sense, Pérez focused on the processes of truthfulness that range from monitoring to making decisions in the production process and stated that “Andalusia is one of the communities with the highest level of qualification and technology in the agri-food sector.”
Finally, Julio Carreras revealed figures on innovation trends in the sector where “52 percent of innovation projects are made in the food production process” and “40 percent of the initiatives are carried out on new products.” In addition, Carreras pointed out that the environmental pressure and the power that consumers have acquired as opinion generators through their active participation in the market are “determining factors in this process of transformation of the agri-food sector” where the key lies in the “collaboration of all the agents” that are part of the agri-food ecosystem.
Startup Europe Smart Agrifood Summit is jointly organized by FYCMA (Palace of Congresses and Fairs of Malaga), the European Foundation for Technological Innovation and Development (INTEC), the Andalusian Government and SVG Ventures & Thrive, and is promoted by the European initiative ‘Startup Europe’ of DG CONNECT of the European Commission within the framework of the Digital Single Market strategy. On the other hand, Golden Partners are the Andalusian Agency of Knowledge, the Andalusian Agency of Foreign Promotion – Extenda, dependent entity of the Ministry of the Presidency, Public Administration and Interior; the Agricultural and Fisheries Management Agency of Andalusia (AGAPA); Alltech Crop Science; Ceseand-Enterprise Europe Network (EEN); the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development; Deloitte and Galpagro. Silver Partners are COVAP and IBM. Bronze Partners are Andalucía Emprende, Andalusian Public Foundation; AVOMIX; Cefetra Digital Services; EIT Climate-KIC; EIT Food; John Deere; The Palm; Montosa and the University of Málaga. All the information is available on https://smartagrifoodsummit.com/, as well as on the Facebook page and Twitter profile @SmartAgriFoodSu and LinkedIn.