loading

Promotion and dissemination of the aeroponic technology in agriculture

Place: tunisia, Africa
Quantitative & qualitative enhancement of crop products Quantitative & qualitative enhancement of crop products
Total Budget: € 740.250,00 | Period: From November 2011 To

Summary

The Agriponic project was born in a logic of sharing experiences in Siciliy and Tunisia for the promotion of innovative crops oriented to the main guidelines at European level in terms of sustainability and technological innovation.The search path is based on soilless techniques of agricultural production without substrate in closed loop. The project led to the creation of an aeroponic greenhouse with experimental cultivations of aromatic plants, vegetables and herbs, placed on special conduits with perforated bases that support plant and roots. Such aeroponic greenhouses grow in harsh environments and obtained excellent results in terms of product's quantity, quality and environmental respect. Through the aeroponic technology the productivity grows 50 times if compared to the traditional methods, it is guaranteed the healthiness of products that do not contain any pesticides and the consumption of energy, water, fertilizers and nutrients is reduced to the essentials.

Partnership

Municipality of Ragusa - Italy

Lead applicant

The city of Ragusa with about 70.000 inhabitants and chief town of the homonym province, is situated in the extreme south-oriental part of Sicily. The city of Ragusa is divided in two main separate parts, the inferior and more ancient one, "Ragusa Ibla", declared Patrimony of the humanity by the UNESCO for its monuments of Baroque epoch and the superior part, built on the highland after the 1693 disastrous earthquake that razed to the ground almost all the oriental places of Sicily. The landscape of Ragusa is one of the most interesting and varied places and it is characterized by caves, really deep canyons dug by the courses of water that host and guard an immense patrimony of biodiversity where rocky sites that belong to the first human installations of the neolithic period can be found. Ragusa was recognized patrimony of the humanity in the 2002 and it is one of the most important art cities of Italy. Ragusa is defined by literates and economists as "The island in the island" thanks to its history and to a different social and economic context from the rest of the island. The agricultural sector, especially the fruit and vegetables and the greenhouse ones, have a great importance in terms of occupation, with a share of agricultural enterprises that amounts to 36,2% (the double compared to the Italian average) and in terms of export.

Regional Commissary for Agricultural Development - Manouba - Tunisia

Initiative partner

CRDA is the sole representative and integral part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries at the regional level, provides: - human potential (474 employees) with a number of engineers and technicians from all specialties within the agricultural sector, - A broad and successful experience in the development, implementation and monitoring of agricultural development projects most of which are financed by international donors - A strong network of extension in ongoing contact with producers and managing problems daily. - Therefore, the CRDA is rapidly able to contribute effectively to the success of the project and its full integration into the surrounding environment while playing a major role in the popularization of agricultural technology. - In addition, it is essential to note that the CRDA oversees the implementation of the objectives defined by national policy on agriculture and rural development.

SVI. MED. Euro-Mediterranean Centre for the sustainable development - Italy

Initiative partner

SVIMED is a non profit association working on European project managing since 10 years and is participating in projects that refer mainly to environmental sustainability, such as, waste management, water management, sustainable agriculture, water and energy efficiency etc. Svimed is part of Agende 21 Locali network, ACR+ network and is collaborating with them in the Working Group on Circular Economy Planning that supports local and regional authorities in being ambitious on circular economy and will therefore support and help them to adopt aspiring circular economy strategies. We are setting up a partnership at international level with the aim to capitalize past project results, products and experiences about environmental sustainability, with a focus on Circular economy and waste prevention.

Provincial Union of Farmers - Ragusa - Italy

Initiative partner

UPA Ragusa is a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of companies in the sector of agriculture. Its main activity is focused on technological innovation and quality. It is a professional association of operators of agriculture representing agricultural businesses in internationalization with institutional bodies, ministries and coordinate and disseminate information on the activities of internationalization of companies and other organizations and institutions (participation in fairs and events , etc.). UPA focuses its efforts on specific projects aimed, first, at encouraging the promotion of Italian agricultural and agro-food export, encouraging farmers wishing to invest directly abroad. His experience is useful as a reference center for the development, implementation of agricultural seminars and disseminate results among participants.

Regional Union of Agriculture and Fishing - Manouba - Tunisia

Initiative partner

URAP Manouba is the regional branch of UTAP (Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fisheries), the only national professional organization. With a union and development (3000 farmer members including plus de 1000 women and 26 innovation and development companies). URAP Manouba contributes as an active member of civil society in the development and implementation of major decisions and major guidelines set by the Presidential Programs and Plans for Economic and Social Development. URAP Manouba plays a supervisory role and clustering, and works to increase revenues from its members, to defend their interests and intervention of all public bodies and regional authorities for the promotion of agricultural and agro-food sectors. Similarly, URAP Manouba, has a representative tissue rather intensified by the existence of 8 Local Unions and 28 sectoral base unions and therefore it is well represented in the eligible project area.

Implementation of an integrated soil less green-house system, in the Mediterranean area, for food production in harsh environment, ECOFRIENDLY, energy and water saving, ensuring products traceability and healthiness and greater productivity per acreage

Through the aeroponic cultivation there is the creation of a protected environment where the plant has no exposition to pests and pathogens, with an increase in the level of oxygenation of the root system, the speeding up the phenological stages of plant development and with no risks for the development of fungal groups and the formation of algae.
Main project result is the knowledge transfer about innovative soilles techniques in the Mediterranean area, where the practice of traditional agriculture in greenhouses goes towards an integrated soilless agricultural and high-tech production process, powered by green energy and without any kind of non reusable waste. Such techniques grow in eco-friendly greenhouses that guarantees: water savings efficiency; absence of contamination of aquifers; traceability and safety of the products; compression of emissions; drastic reduction of energy consumption; increase in quantity and quality of production; healthy products. www.agriponic.eu.

Greenhouse pilot project Plastic scale with a reproduction of aeroponics greenhouse that was built in Manouba
Greenhouse structure Finalization of the aluminium structure and glasses of the greenhouse in Tunisia - Manouba
Main Innovation in Agriponic project The video describes the main innovations in the aeroponic cultivation and in the greenhouse soilles system . Italian Version
Main Innovation in Agriponic project The video describes the main innovation in Aeroponic colture and in the soilles greenhouse system. French Version

Through ENPI IT- TN cooperation program, partners have promoted the need to spread the knowledge transfer of new cultivation techniques that minimize the use of water resources, grow without fertile soils, ensure quality and safety for consumers health and contribute to give requested food quantities by global population.
The project starts within similar geographic and socio-economic contexts where the importance of horticulture in greenhouses is relevant both for Sicilian and Tunisian economy; traditional cultivation techniques have a strong environmental impact due to the use of fertilizers and pesticides; moreover the quantity of products doesn’t meet markets and mass retails needs. Those factors led to promote sustainable agriculture, suitable for harsh environments (arid, semi-arid, rugged). So, the new approach was born to contribute to the creation of new jobs through the involvement of young people who invest in new eco-friendly and high-tech farming techniques.

First technical seminar in Manouba First technical seminar in Manouba in the Hall of the CTPTA (Centre Technique de la Pomme de Terre et de l'Artichout). September 25, 2012.
Institutional visit in Manouba The photo describes the first meeting between sicilian and tunisian partners in Manouba , in the Gouvernorat hall. November 2011
Training seminar on innovative agriculture in Ragusa Explanation of the Aeroponic process to the students in the public hall of the Agricultural Inspectorate of Ragusa - 2013/05/20
Premises and background of Agriponic project The video describes the context and the premises of the history and the evolution of the agriculture from the first industrial revolution to the innovation in the system of production in soilles greenhouses. Italian version
Premises and background of Agriponic project The video describes the context and the premises of the history and the evolution of the agriculture from the first industrial revolution to the innovation in the system of production in soilles greenhouses.French version
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Gouvernorat of Manouba Data and descritpion of the Gouvernorat of Manouba
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf The soilless cultivation: plant and management aspects Presentation by professor Giuffrida, University of Catania, during the training seminar on Innovative Agriculture in the public hall of the Agricultural Inspectorate in Ragusa - 2013/05/20

Broad participation of the agricultural enterprises in the events organized by the project and great interest for the expected results of pilot greenhouse in Tunisia. Involvement of other public institutions to the training and information seminars as the Regional Department of Agricultural Resources in Sicily that gave feedbacks for the involvement of enterprises for next funding program for regional development funds 2014-2020.
Collaboration with secondary schools in Ragusa and University in Manouba which led to the launch of apprenticeships and internships for students in farms.
Great stimulus to research and experimentation was given for the Institutes involved to perform a demo production of the aeroponic technology in sicilian farms.
Active involvement of enterprises for on-site technical visits to farms in Ragusa with experiences on soilless substrate crops that have interacted with the engineers and experts of the project.

Greenhouse structure Finalization of the aluminium structure and glasses of the greenhouse in Tunisia - Manouba. The greenhouse was not yet finalized
Questions and answers Great interest of farmers during the informative seminar in Djerba, September 2013, where URAP representatives show the functioning of the idroponic process through a demonstrative scale model
Visit to farms - Vittoria Visti to Mediterranea Fiori an agrciultural farm that produces flowers with soilless techniques
Agriponic project Description of the Aeroponic technology and process and the impacts on social and eceonomic level
Agriponic project french version Description of the Aeroponic technology and process and the impacts on social and eceonomic level. french version
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Soilles productions, typologies, methods and applications The PPT (by Prof. Leoni, University of Sassari) describes the main technologic innovations in agriculture in order to increase productions per unitary costs, to garantee elevated quality and sanitation and to reduce costs. Sptember, 28 2013. Technical workshop during the Mediterranean Agriculture Fair in Ragusa

The project seeks to find solutions to different needs and therefore beneficiaries:
- The worldwide crisis facing the mediterranean farms that failing to cooperate and can't survive in competition with large industrial companies. In addition, those small farms that have weak links with the Research and University and don't guarantee definite results in certain times.
- Aeroponic technique gives the consumers the opportunity to find in the market, in every period of the year, health and traceability products.
- Aeroponics respond to the needs of the environment, consumers, the market and the need for highly productive techniques whose aim is to feed the world. In relation with the possibility to support regional financial investments, the benefits led the partners to spread the knowledge transfer of those technologies, which should be more accessible and feasible, as it requires know-how and technology investments, above all for high vocational training needs in Sicily and Tunisia.

Students giving lessons ..... The students of the Secondary School of the Agrarian Institute in Modica show the results of their experimentation of aeroponic cultivation in their greenhouse laboratory. Public hall of the Agricultural Inspectorate of Ragusa - 2013/05/20
Technical visit in a soilles greenhouse in Scicli (RG) The Italian partners of the project organized some “field visits” in the farms that apply soilless system of cultivation. The visits are addressed to the students of the Technical and Agronomy Institute of Ragusa and Modica (RG), in order to show and disseminate the soilless greenhouse system, as innovative production technique to be applied in the agricultural sector. The aimis to improve the know how of the students and stimulate the innovative entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector of the Province of Ragusa that is mainly based on growing crops in greenhouses. October,2 2014
Technical visit in a soilles greenhouse in Vittoria (RG) The Italian partners of the project organized some “field visits” in the farms that apply soilless system of cultivation. The visits are addressed to the students of the Technical and Agronomy Institute of Ragusa and Modica (RG), in order to show and disseminate the soilless greenhouse system, as innovative production technique to be applied in the agricultural sector. October 15, 2014
Training seminar on innovative agriculture in Ragusa Explanation of the Aeroponic process to the students in the public hall of the Agricultural Inspectorate of Ragusa - 2013/05/20
Training seminar on innovative agriculture in Ragusa Explanation of the Aeroponic process through the project video to the students in the public Hall of the Agricultural Inspectorate of Ragusa. May 20, 2013
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Experimentation activity of aeroponic cultivation The file describes the experimentation work of the 4th class of the High School: Institute for Agriculture in Modica where four types of tomatoes (Rovente –Ventero-Eracle- Razymo) have been planted following the aeroponic technology. 2013
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf General description of the project, targets and beneficiaries The PPT describes the partners, activites, objectives and outputs of the project related to the problems and needs addressed. French version.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf The sicilian agricultural sector The PPT describes the main features of the agrciultural sector in Sicily, italian version. presentation during the first launch event in Ragusa. May, 21, 2012

At partner level about 25 persons were involved, plus 30 external experts and technicians, direct involved in activities.

Representatives of project partners:
Mr S. Distefano Project Director Municipality of Ragusa

Mr G. Iacono, president Svimed Ragusa, Hydraulic Engineer and expert in soilles cultivation
Mr J. Abidi, Head of CRDA
Mr S. Meghirbi, engineer and expert of soilles crops, from URAP

Mr S. Gambuzza, degree in economics, entrepreneur in agrofood company, president UPA Ragusa.
Significant contribution came from:

Prof. S. Leoni speaker in 2 training seminars, professor in the University of Sassari

Prof. F. Giuffrida, expert in horticulture and flowers, from University of Catania, Agricultural products and food Department
Mr A. Pezzolli, commercial manager at Aeroponica Industriale srl, Design and construction of aeroponic crops and agri-food biomass

Mr A. Curcio, Lead partner project manager

Mrs E. Arrabito, director Svimed Ragusa, project manager fortheProject

First Launch meeting in Ragusa Partnership meeting in Ragusa with the representative of the Joint Technical Secretariat of the ENPI Program. March, 20 2012
Launch event in Manouba, Tunisia Launch event in Manouba. September, 24 2012. Project partner and the Tunisian Authority (ministry of Cooperation representatives, technical secretariat) present to the public and journalists the Agriponic project and the main objectives with a focus on the pilot greenhouse project to be built in Manouba.
Launch seminar with experts in Ragusa. Informative seminar about the aeroponic technique applied to vegetable and fruit sector and the economic advantages for SMES. Ragusa Local Council, March, 20 2012
Partnership meeting in Ragusa Italian and Tunisian partners at the end of the Partnership meeting in Ragusa. March 2012
Technical Meeting in Maouba Safouane Meghirbi is explaining the Objectives of the Pilot grrenhouse project to be built in manouba during a technical seminar. September, 26 2012
Welcome meeting Ragusa First Partnership meeting in Ragusa. During the event the Mayor of Ragusa Municipality and Tunisian partners exchanged welcome presents. the Tunisian Consul settled in Palermo, attended the meeting in order to strengthen the cross border cooperation between Sicily and Tunisia, March, 21 2012
Working group meeting in Manouba. Technical Committee between project partners was held in Manouba, in order to tackle the progress of the activities. September, 26 2012

Partners had to overcome different kind of difficulties and problems to reach good results.
The major obstacle was the difficulty in finding professional suppliers at european level for the construction of the pilot greenhouse and related logistic, financial and cultural issues.
Partners had to promote and disseminate through their internet website the search of the best company to build the pilot greenhouse. In the first public call for tender anyone presented a good technical offer. After the second call URAP found a supplier with wide experience in the aeroponic and in soilless cultivations, however afterwards the administrative and financial issues took over and for a while the project was almost stationary. The strict cooperation and dialogue between Svimed, through Mr Iacono, URAP, through Mr Meghirbi, l’Aeroponica Industriale and the Lead partner project manager, Alfio Curcio, was necessary to overcome such kind of complications.

Construction phase of pilot greenhouse Construction phase of pilot greenhouse with workers that are installing the glasses into the structure of the pilot project
Signature of the contract for pilot greenhouse in Manouba Meeting for the signing of the contract in Manouba. In order from left to right the representants of CRDA, Mr Kamel Seoud, SVIMED, Mr Giovanni Iacono, from Aeroponica Industriale, Mr Gaetano Verdoliva, from URAP, Mr Zanzouri and Mr Fakhreddine Torjmene

The aeroponic technology does not use the land and does not require cycles of rest or land rotation, even forced, against the emergence of pathogens related to crops repetitive. Even the preventive treatments of fumigation against pest aphids on the land is no longer needed, especially treatments based on methyl bromide (BM), now banned by the European standards.
The plant, which grows in sanitized environment, requires no antifungal treatments or pesticides, thereby overcoming the constraints introduced by the EU regulations.
The plant has the characteristics of overall quality, being able to control the climate external indicators not only in the surface but also in the roots.
No residues of fertilization are dispersed in the environment, nor is the problem of the recovery of substrate; water and nutrients are reduced to the necessary, through nebulization and even not released into the environment, but are recovered in conduit.
 

The life tree The tree in the picture was shown during the SIAMAP that was held in Tunis last november 2013 to represent the sustainbaility of the aeroponic cultivation
the sustainable impact of the aeroponic cultivations Image of the Project video that describes the sustainable impact of the aeroponic cultivations
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Innovation, challenges and sustainability in soilless cultavtion Presentation by prof. Gentile (by University of Catania) that describes the typologies of Innovations, the challenges and the sustainability in different soilless cultivation, finding in the raspberry a valid alternative for crop production in Siciliy and Tunisia. Training seminar in Ragusa, May, 21, 2013.

The collaboration with the Technical and Agrarian Secondary Institutes in Ragusa allowed to form long-lasting partnerships between the partners and the Institutes involved with the successful submission of a stage for 6 students involved in the project for a work experience at the offices of Svimed in September and October 2014.
Partners has established strong partnerships with the University of Sassari and University of Catania  and CSEI for the data monitoring in the pilot greenhouse in Tunisia and to develop such experimentation in Ragusa too, since farmers and professionnels are interested in the economic and environmental benefit of aeroponic technology. 

Several factors suggest that in the future a substantial development of soilless cultivation isnce lands are stressed due to excessive crops intensification and desertification. In Belarus it seems to be the only technique able to decouple the radioactive contamination of the soil, allowing the production of “clean” crops.

CTPTA Technical Centre of Potatoes and Artcihouts The pilot greenhouse in Manouba is situated at the Technical Centre of Potatoes and Artcihouts(CTPTA) for all the duration of the project and for the phases of training and for promotion of the results of aeroponic production and this provided a long lasting connection with the students of the CTPTA. Welcome from people working at CTPTA.
Demonstration on scale of Pilot greenhouse in Tunisia Demonstration on scale of Pilot greenhouse in Tunisia
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Design of plastic scale of Pilot greenhouse in Tunisia Dimensions of plastic scale of Pilot greenhouse in Tunisia
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Reuse of wastewater in agriculture Presentation by prof. Giuseppe Cirelli from the University of Catania. Research on the reuse of wastewater in agriculture and its potentialities in the province of Ragusa. The presentation was held during the seminar in Ragusa

The communication strategy of the project turned around the website: www.agriponic.eu and the informative and formative seminars to involve students, technicians, experts and farmers.
Main communication tools:
n. 3 Newsletters in Italian and French sent to all the participants of the seminars, implemented by Svimed
n. 2 Press Conferences in Sicily, Ragusa and in Tunisia, Manouba
n. 1 Video describing the aeroponic process and technology of 8 minutes, implemented by Confagricoltura Ragusa, and showed during the Fairs in 2013 in Tunis and in Ragusa.
n. 1 Brochure in Italian and French produced by the Municipality of Ragusa
publication of 1 study on the state of he art of the sericulture in the region of Sicily and Manouba produced by Svimed
Creation of the Infopoint for Agriponic project in the public hall of the Department of Economic Development in the Municipality of Ragusa

Creation of the demonstration room in the offices of IPA with plastic scale pilot project.

First training seminar Ragusa Public involvement and presence of agronomists, farmers, technicians and students during the first informative seminar to the Donnafugata Theater in Ragusa Ibla. December, 20 2012 with a focus on existing case studies on innovative aeroponic technology
First training seminar Ragusa Ibla Partners group at the first informative seminar to the Donnafugata Theater in Ragusa Ibla (December, 20 2012) focused on existing case studies on innovative aeroponic technology with active participation of companies and institutions
Inauguration of the demonstration room Italian and Tunisian partners at the training seminar that was held in Ragusa on May 20 2013, at the Agricultural Inspectorate, about the aeroponic technique and presentation of scale model of aeroponic greenhouse.
Infopoint Agriponic Infopoint Agriponic is a place where people can ask information on the Agriponic project and the Aeroponic Technique. It is situated in the offices of the Municipality of Ragusa, Department of Economic Development
Mediterranean Agricultural Fair - Ragusa The particpation of the project partners to the 39° FAM, Mediterranean Agricultural Fair in September 2013 where partners showed the plastic scale model, the video and the aeroponic technique during the press conference
Training seminar on innovative agriculture in Ragusa Training seminar on innovative agriculture in Ragusa, an opportunity to exchange experiences and know how on soilless cultivation techniques, with the involvement of Univeristy of Catania – Agricultural engineering Department, the Vice-president of Agronomists and Forestry Professional Order of Ragusa, agronomist technicians, students of Agricultural Secondary School of Modica and representatives of Smes. Opening of the demonstration room that hosts an aeroponic greenhouse scale model in the offices of the Agricultural Inspectorate of Ragusa. May 2013
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Agriponic project Leaflet The leaflet is bilingual and describes the main objectives and outputs of the Agriponic project. It has been printed in 10.000 copies and distributed in Ragusa and Tunis and Manouba.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Newsletter n. 1 Agriponic The first newsletter describes the activites the partner implemented during 2012, italian version
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Newsletter n. 1 Agriponic french version The first newsletter describes the activites the partner implemented during 2012, french version
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Newsletter n. 2 Agriponic The second newsletter describes the activites the partner implemented during 2013 and the interviews to the main actors of the partenariat : Mr. Fakredine Torjimen, Président of URAP Manouba, Dr. Carpenzano, President of IPA Ragusa, Prof. Leoni, Universityof Sassari
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Newsletter n. 2 Agriponic, french version The second newsletter describes the activites the partner implemented during 2013 and the interviews to the main actors of the partenariat : Mr. Fakredine Torjimen, Président of URAP Manouba, Dr. Carpenzano, President of IPA Ragusa office of the Inspection Provinciale of Agriculture, Prof. Leoni, University of Sassari
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Newsletter n. 3 Agriponic The third newsletter describes the activites the partner implemented during last months of 2013, the international day of Cooperation in Ragusa, the 39° Mediterranean Agricultural Fair in Ragusa, the technical workshop in Manouba and the informative seminar in Djerba
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Newsletter n. 3 Agriponic french version The third newsletter describes the activites the partner implemented during last months of 2013, the international day of Cooperation in Ragusa, the 39° Mediterranean Agricultural Fair in Ragusa, the technical workshop in Manouba and the informative seminar in Djerba. French Version
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Rollup Agriponic 4 different rollup that are useful during fairs and exhibition both in Ragusa, during FAM 2013, the Mediterranean Agricultural Fair and in Tunis, during the SIAMAP 2013 (the international show of Agriculture, Agricultural Machinery and Fishing)