The Albatroz’ Castelo Branco team visited the Farming Innovation Fair of Fundão on the 14th October, 2022.
The fair and the surrounding exhibition showed an atmosphere of optimism and foresight where more than questioning “which farming we have now? ” visitors asked “which kind of farming do we want to have?”
Beyond UAS (a.k.a drones) demonstrations that always capture the visitors’ attention, highlights include Internet of Things (IoT) applications and sustainability at the core of farming, with emphasis on reduction of process inputs and residues, showcasing innovation cases that does not depend on technology.
Albatroz team attended four sessions:
- In the debate “The Regadio da Cova da Beira and Gardunha Sul: Does the future pass through here?” the Prof. João Leitão from the University of Beira Interior introduced the European Med-Wet project that brings together UBI and the Municipality of Fundão to improve the efficiency of agricultural irrigation in the Mediterranean region using innovative strategies. Assuming that the scarcity of water for irrigation will worsen in the countries of the Mediterranean basin, the project will look for unconventional and under-used water resources, in addition to low-cost systems using materials available in the region.
Small clay reservoirs were given as an example, which, by retaining moisture, distributes it to the plants only when necessary. Fieldwork will be carried out at the experimental cherry production farm in Fundão.
- The Montanha Viva project (“Live Mountain” project”) is led by Prof. Pedro Dinis Gaspar from Universidade da Beira Interior at Covilhã. It envisages Serra da Estrela (the biggest mountain in mainland Portugal) that embraces Fundão region as a living system composed of multiple interacting and interdependent sub-systems: biology, economical, landscape and social. The project fans different areas from environmental monitoring with IoT for optimal irrigation to creating trekking apps that embed the “living” context of the Serra, changing paths according to the seasonal blossom of certain flowers or according to the availability of honey from the given flowers at some local farmers house.
- TheNextBigIdea is about presenting ideas and startups. Given that both engineers and farmings are often underperfoming at communicating to non specialists, every opportunity to watch and learn is welcome.
- The Campos Experimentais do Fundão (“Experimental Fields of Fundão”) were presented by Maria Carmo Martins of COHTN. She described the newest advances in the production of cherry – the beloved and iconic fruit of the region – with new cultivars suited to edaphoclimatic conditions but also by maintaining of old cultivars as these could carry valuable differentiation to endure and adapt to climate change.