1-2 April 2019. Abu Dhabi. Born with the belief that continuous innovation in agriculture is the only way to sustainably feed nine billion people by 2050, the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture has emerged as a global authority on sustainable food production, driving innovation through exhibitions and conferences across the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Since 2014, GFIA events have welcomed over 20,000 visitors and worked with over 50 globally significant partners committed to using the Forum as a catalyst for change.
- Sky Kurtz, Cofounder and CEO, Pure Harvest Farms – Middle East’s food challenge in perspective: Population growth, little water, extreme weather is a recipe for import dependence and food security challenges. Pure Harvest will address how it is helping to tackle these challenges using state-of-the-art controlled-environment agriculture solutions and IoT.
Delivery of saltwater-based agriculture
- Dr Mark Tester, Professor of Bioscience, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) – Water is the primary limiting factor in agriculture in the Middle East and in many other places globally. And agriculture is by far the largest single consumer of water in the region and around the world. Dr Tester elaborated on how seawater-based agriculture is possible and should be adopted rapidly and widely.
- Dr Pedro Andrade Sanchez, Associate Specialist, Precision Agriculture Biosystems
Engineering, The University of Arizona – Information flow for optimization of crop management in semi-desert farming systems. This presentation provided a review of fundamentals of energy-information substitution in agricultural production that validates the ever-increasing use of digital inputs in modern farming systems. Since the early 2000’s Precision Agriculture has emerged as a new paradigm with an increased use of electronics to make the operational side of agricultural mechanized tasks more efficient, as well as adjusting input rates closer to the actual needs of the crop on a site-specific basis. As technology keeps evolving, newly released autonomous platforms are using advances in computational resources, both hardware and analytics to enhance the machine learning capacity of these systems.
- Thomas Nivert, Sales Director for Middle East and East Africa, ALLFLEX SAS – Livestock
intelligence, precision farming, and Artificial Intelligence applied to the livestock sector. Production costs in the region are high due to the extreme climate and presence of diseases. Food safety (meat in particular) and bio-security are growing challenges for the GCC in general. How can A.I. and livestock intelligence help farmers and countries in their day-to-day decision-making, ensuring food safety, safeguarding bio-security and promoting trade in the region?
- Dr Srikanth Rupavatharam, Scientist (Digital Agriculture), ICRISAT – Artificial Intelligence
for plant disease diagnosis and real-time monitoring of pest and diseases. ICRISAT are joining forces with technology solution providers such as German startup Progressive Environmental and Agricultural Technologies (PEAT) to benefit smallholder farmers. ICRISAT is collaborating with PEAT on Plantix, a smartphone app. Plantix uses deep learning and automatic image recognition to detect pests, diseases, identify nutrient deficiencies and monitor crop health across regions. Dr Rupavatharam also shared ICRISAT’s recent work on using AI to monitor an invasive pest on maize crops that was introduced for the first time in India.
‘The Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI)’ along with ‘The Rockefeller Foundation’ has published a report, which included 22 investible innovations as immediate solution to reduce the problem of postharvest food loss and to feed the growing population in a sustainable way.
- Packaging and Processing,
- Storage and Transport,
- Life Sciences,
- Data Collection
- and Monitoring and Enabling Innovations.
GKI has also issued 10 Invitations for Transformational Innovation, each of which offers a provocation meant to inspire bold efforts to reshape food systems in emerging markets. Read here