In May, 30th, at the Oranfresh conference hall in Catania, took place As-prò, the first event joined by renowned speakers and several industry professionals.
As the name suggests, the event was born from the will to develop a projectuality that, starting from Sicily and specific crops, aims to promote and spread innovation in citrus cultivation.
CEREA FCP gathered with sicilian Research & Development Institutes, European researchers and farmers to share knowledge and experience, not only to offer new research insights or do scientific divulgation, but also to provide concrete and innovative solutions for those who operate in the field.
It must be noted that the event was also streamed live online and shortly it will be available for online streaming.
It was Federica Argentati, President of the Sicilian Citrus Fruit District, who opened the conference and played skillfully the role of moderator by introducing the speakers with the different topics covered: rootstocks, iron chlorosis, production aspects and the phytosanitary impact.
As regards rootstocks, Alberto Continella, associate Professor of General Arboriculture and tree crops at UNI Catania, has presented results on some research relative to tolerances to pathogens and to different production potentialities both from a qualitative and quantitative point of view.
María Á. Forner Giner e Mary-Rus Martínez Cuenca of the Center of Production of Citrus Fruits and Plants of the Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research (IVIA) also took part to the conference in live streaming from Spain. They explained the essential role that iron plays in citrus fruits and how the element is absorbed. Finally, they thouroghly analysed iron chlorosis, a problem widely spread in mediterranean areas, to understand the triggering causes and what it involves in terms of yield.
Giuseppe Ciuffreda, Head of Research & Development and Agronomy of CEREA FCP, despite the complexity and vastness of the topic, has illustrated the advantages deriving from the use of nanotechnology to tackle iron deficiencies, in line with the European strategy “Farm to Fork” and environmental sustainability.
CEREA FCP over the last few years has in fact started testing Nano.T® Fe in Sicily, a new nanotechnology product, active in a wide range of pH, effective at low dosages, completely biodegradable and also used during the day in fertigation. Also, it is a winning product as compared to other traditional chelating products, since it does not precipitate and favours the acidification of the rhizosphere. As underlined by Ciuffreda, CEREA FCP is further improving the application techniques by testing the product in greenhouses on different rootstocks.
Antonino F. Catara, Scientific Director of the project SIRPA, has addressed the management of systemic pathogenic organisms of citrus fruits. Throughout his speech, possible benefits deriving from the use of nanofertilizers have emerged (not only iron-based, but also containing other elements, topic that CEREA FCP is already dealing with) to mitigate the diseases of citrus fruits coming from phloem pathogenic organisms; this is possible especially thanks to the slow and constant release of nutrients, to a major bioavailability (specific area, dimensions, reactivity), to the reduction of nutrient loss and to a major resistance against biotic and abiotic stress, aspects that favour the respect for the environment and induce quality productions.
Finally, Giancarlo Roccuzzo, researcher at the CREA institute in Acireale, dealt with the topic of agroecology to prevent microdeficiencies and illustrated techniques to recycle organic waste and increase organic matter.
Closing the event, Drs. Argentati has suggested to create a permanent workshop to network with interested parties and farmers. This solution would allow to compare the most innovative and promising techniques favouring a more rapid development and a more punctual and widespread divulgation towards manufacturers.
On the basis of these assumptions, the As-prò project will continue with other events to make the citrus industry more and more influential and profitable.
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(wou will find below the video with the interviews to the speakers)