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Italy: managing agricultural production by satellite imaging

09/10/2019 - François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
A EUR 235 000 project carried out by the Pomodoro Nord IO
Inspecting crops from above, using images from the European Space Agency in order to improve the management of processing tomato production in the North of Italy: this is the aim of the GOI (Operational Innovation Group), which received financing of EUR 167 000 from the Emilia Romagna region (out of a total cost for the project of EUR 235 000) in the context of the rural development plan for 2014-2020.
IO President Tiberio Rabboni explained: "This project stems from the permanent necessity to optimize the in-field management of tomatoes. The Innovation Group that we have set up, which is co-financed by regional authorities, is going to acquire and process the satellite images of tomato fields which, when they are correctly analyzed and interpreted, will allow us to obtain three types of real-time strategic information: 
- a verification of surfaces that are really planted with tomatoes, something that is extremely useful in order to plan annual production; 
- the phenological evolution of crops undergoing the effects of various possible weather conditions; 
- the early identification of any pathogenic agents or plant health issues affecting crops. 
Furthermore, the computer platform will be set up for producers' organizations, processing industry operators and the IO itself, enabling the real-time transmission of data relating to crops and to the harvest, which will result in a more fine-tuned management of the quantities and the quality of tomatoes shipped to factories. This computer platform will enable operators to study the production yields of the different varieties intended for processing with regard to the various finished products. 
The ultimate aim is to generate information that will help the industry improve its competitiveness and promote a greater awareness of the markets. So the contribution of the Pomodoro Nord IO is becoming increasingly central to the production and implementation of information required by the industry, a major role that needs to be played at the intersection of the agricultural world and the industrial world, in order to further improve the value of tomatoes on the markets."
The mission of this Innovation Group will last 30 months (from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2022) and will involve several partners, including the CRPV (Research Center for Plant Production), the Sacred Heart Catholic University and a number of other organizations. Seven processing companies will also collaborate in this project by supplying data and important information for the study, particularly during the experimentation phase: Greci, Emiliana Conserve, Conserve Italia, Columbus, Steriltom, Rodolfi and Mutti.
Source: OI Pomodoro Nord Italie
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