Precision agriculture. Innovation and opportunities for the Italian system

Rome   17 July 2019 13:07

Presented at a press conference in Rome
IBF Servizi, the first technological hub for Italian agriculture

Optimization of production processes, reduction of production costs, improvement of environmental sustainability and quality. These are the goals of IBF Servizi to improve the competitiveness of Italian agriculture. Born from a public-private partnership between ISMEA and Bonifiche Ferraresi, IBF Servizi promotes the development of precision agriculture, supporting companies in the sector in adopting and implementing innovative technological solutions.

The project is addressed to Italian agriculture and is now being strengthened thanks to the entry of two big hi-tech companies into the corporate structure such as Leonardo and A2A Smart City. Leonardo participates in the initiative through e-GEOS, a joint venture between Telespazio and the Italian Space Agency. e-GEOS is one of the international players in satellite earth observation and geoinformation. A2A Smart City (the A2A Group company) develops and manages technological infrastructures for integrated and networked digital services, which will bring its experience in the field of proximal sensors and in the development of narrow-band networks.

The initiative was presented today during the press conference "From the space to the earth. The technological leap for Italian agriculture" held in Rome at the Montecitorio Meeting Center, in the presence of the Minister for Agricultural Policies Gian Marco Centinaio, with Raffaele Borriello - Director-General of ISMEA, Valerio Camerano - CEO of A2A, Gianni De Gennaro - Chairman of Leonardo, Federico Vecchioni - CEO of BF S.p.A.

Thanks to the expertise developed through the intense research and development activities of Bonifiche Ferraresi and ISMEA, IBF is today able to offer services that range from crops monitoring to the support of decisions for irrigation and defence against pathogens, up to the supply of prescription maps for sowing and fertilizing. These are a multiplicity of modular activities effective both on small plots and on large areas, allowing to meet the needs of a wide range of stakeholders. 

In order to optimize production factors, strategic tools such as business decision support systems, territorial information systems and satellite localization systems – in addition to proximal and remote sensors – represent increasingly important planning and management devices for agricultural entrepreneurs.
Promoting and spreading the principles of precision agriculture with the help of these innovative technologies allows to make the right thing in the right place at the right time, reducing waste, increasing yields and optimizing processes, with obvious benefits both in economic and in environmental terms.

"Investing in research and innovation to face the challenges of the agri-food system allows us to have a clear vision of the future, to be ready to respond to the growing food demand and, at the same time, to support the creation of a more sustainable mode of production from an environmental point of view". Said Gian Marco Centinaio, Minister of Agricultural, Food, Forestry and Tourism Policies."The value of precision agriculture is a rational, precise and efficient approach in terms of natural resources used and management of the factors of production, but also of other fundamental immaterial values such as ecosystem services. Such initiatives can contribute to the adoption and diffusion of advanced management systems and technical assistance in agriculture on a large territorial scale, projecting the sector in the third millennium for an increasingly quality and advanced made in Italy".

"With this project we want to promote a more sustainable growth of the Italian agri-food system," said Raffaele Borriello, Director-General of ISMEA. “Facilitating access to methodologies, practices and technologies of precision agriculture means improving the competitiveness of our companies also through a production costs reduction, favouring an agriculture that is ever more respectful of the environment and of people's health. The participation of Ismea will ensure that all Italian farms will be able to benefit from these advantages, even those that, due to their size, volume of business and training limits, would not have the opportunity to use them".

"BF S.p.A. considers the equity partnership in IBF Servizi with A2A and Leonardo – after the one with Ismea – a perfect integration of knowledge and human resources dedicated to what today represents in Italy an extraordinary example of technological innovation applied to the agro-industrial supply chain", declared Federico Vecchioni, CEO of BF S.p.A.. He added “precision agriculture is in fact able to represent the best end consumer’s guarantee of the quality of food products, also ensuring a rational and responsible use of natural resources. Furthermore, this farming management concept is able to turn innovation into a factor of competitiveness, common denominator of all the productive sectors, in respect of which today the agricultural sector is one of the best application examples".

"We have chosen with conviction to become part of IBF Servizi because it represents an important example of collaboration between authoritative partners, able to develop advanced solutions dedicated to agriculture and to ensure a competitive advantage to an industrial sector so important for our country" declared Valerio Camerano, CEO of A2A Group. "The technologies that we will offer with A2A Smart City in the field of connectivity and sensors, and our ability to manage large amounts of information, will be able to provide a valuable contribution in terms of innovation and environmental sustainability".

“By connecting aerospace and agri-food—two world-famous Italian industries—it will be possible to offer innovative services for the sustainable development of Italian companies of all sizes, with opportunities in global markets,” said Leonardo Chairman Gianni De Gennaro.  “With IBF Servizi, a public-private partnership associating technology owners, institutions and agricultural holdings, we are improving agricultural productivity and addressing climate change. Leonardo, through e-GEOS, proudly provides satellite technologies and Big Data analysis for this purpose.”

All the materials of the press conference are available on the website www.ismea.it