Sival 2024 Spotlight: Addressing Societal Demands in Agriculture and Postharvest

Production and postharvest media work by implementing sustainability measures en Sival 2024

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02 February, 2024

The production of vegetables and fruits faces immediate challenges related to costs, labor needs, and global sustainability requirements.

Each year, at this fair and others, one can witness advancements made by companies in the implementation of new technologies that allow them to consume less energy and fewer materials, ensure material reusability and recyclability, and reduce carbon emissions in all processes. These needs give rise to new businesses, such as the flourishing of companies offering solar panels with proposals for agrivoltaics, where land is used for both capturing solar energy through panels and cultivation.

At SIVAL 2024, various electrically powered and autonomously driven cultivation equipment was showcased. Additionally, solutions for vertical farming, phytosanitary combat methods based on natural substances or microorganisms, etc., were presented. The article (in Spanish) "Employment, Training, and Robots in Today's Horticultural Fair at SIVAL" explains these developments in Horticultural Technology.



Postharvest companies continually advance in improving the energy efficiency of their equipment. Absoger, a specialist in controlled atmosphere chambers with various oxygen concentration management features, exhibits annually at Sival. In this fair, where olive cultivation and wine are also significant, Absoger also displays offerings for wineries. Similarly, Isolcell, a specialist in controlled dynamic atmosphere chambers, through its representative in France, showcases its innovations.

Warehouse conditioning machinery manufacturers like MAF Roda, Tomra, Unitec, have been on the path of process automation and artificial intelligence for decades, using big data, which allows precise external and internal fruit classification with minimal manual intervention.

In packaging materials, the range of options based on paper, cardboard, or plastic with reduced raw material usage and enhanced features continues to grow. The image illustrating the article shows "woven" plastic baskets proposed by the Swiss company Bachman Plantec. It is a manufacturer of trays and other materials for nursery and ornamental cultivation that has developed trays with perfect aeration and minimal plastic use, allowing for heat sealing, among other finishing methods.

The Italian company Kuku showcased its meshes used as covers for baskets, allowing good ventilation.

Baskets with mesh lids at the Kuku International Packaging booth


Sival centralizes responses to sector demands

Sival is a fair where all the institutions of the region and the city of Angers come together. This year's theme was "Pedestrians are the most important," adhered to strictly and with good humor by vehicles. "Destination Angers" is the umbrella organization to promote the region.

The 2024 edition was the 37th and took place between January 16 and 18 this year. Two innovation-related contests are central to its activities: SIVAL Innovation and Agreen Startup, highlighting proposals from exhibitor companies related to machinery, with robotics aiding in facilitating work, natural solutions to plant diseases, and more. An 80% of the conferences were linked to agroecological transition. In Sival Innovation, 21 out of 69 innovations were awarded, and Agreen Startup, featuring 12 projects, showcased innovations.

Among the accompanying activities is the visit to companies and institutions in the region. This year, one such activity took place at the Jean Lurçat museum, housed in a historic building dedicated to contemporary tapestry. This craft is closely associated with Angers; its castle houses the "Apocalypse Tapestry," created in the 14th century, measuring 140 meters long by 6 meters high.


Bruno Dupont (front and center with a tie), President of Sival, explains to journalists the significance of horticultural production in the area and the collective efforts of all institutions to support individual initiatives, facilitating the transition to new realities

Bruno Dupont, president of Sival, defines the fair as a "source of inspiration, construction, and envisioning the future of different sectors with optimism and pragmatism." The Fruit 2050 event, one of the many opportunities for talks and conferences, is significant. It involved researchers from different areas trying to predict the future by 2050 and anticipate its needs. Generational change and labor needs are crucial factors, and new technologies can be an incentive for new farmers who can manage operations from a mobile phone, with a liberating effect. There is a growing trend in remote-operable equipment. Tractors are becoming more attractive and functional, and the supply of autonomous equipment is rapidly increasing for those who do not wish to operate a tractor.

Profitability must accompany the package for all of the above to be truly attractive. Small businesses, where profitability must be obtained for each product unit, strive for imaginative proposals. One of the visited businesses this year, Fermes de Sainte Marthe, specializes in producing "historical" seed varieties, marketed in their garden center and online. Their recently renovated facilities showcase a successful business.

Dominique Velé, Director of Ferme de Sainte Marthe, explains the business model of his company

Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Financiado por la Unión Europea