The challenge for the near future is to meet the food requirements of the 9-10 million people who will inhabit our planet in 2050. Even though the four main crops that currently feed humanity - i.e. rice, corn, wheat, and potatoes - will have a leading role, vegetables will also have to play their part.
Overview of a Med Group technological greenhouse
Sustainability will have to be guaranteed in an increasingly critical context when it comes to resources (water, soil, fertilizers, and energy): the only winning solution must be based on innovation, which will have to lead to an increase in yields.
FreshPlaza talked about it with Massimiliano Nicosia, sales manager for Sicily at Med Group, a company part of Gruppo Europrogress that has been producing steel greenhouses in Vittoria (RG) for the past 10 years.
Nicosia also operates as Innovation Manager, with the objective of implementing automated production processes in line with the principles of Industry 4.0.
"The company currently employs 30 operators when it comes to production, divided into 7 departments, each boasting an IT station that provides them with the full control of production, warehouse, and logistic operations. The same management software is used by other 10 users from the purchasing, sales, and administration departments for full traceability of each order. Now that we have completed this phase, we will transfer innovation to our clients' greenhouses," explained the manager.
Inside a Med Group greenhouse
"The production costs of high-tech greenhouses typical of northern European countries have currently become unbearable due to the increasingly higher energy costs. Med Group's Mediterranean solution to the sustainability problem is to push as many producers as possible to abandon 'passive' greenhouses and choose 'active' ones, i.e. facilities that can influence the main production factors such as light, temperature, humidity, CO2, water, and fertilizers in a more or less automated manner."
"The public institutions are supporting this innovation process. The 'Industria 4.0' tax credit agricultural businesses can benefit from has been renewed for 2022 as well. Investments in new tangible assets functional to technological and digital transformation can benefit of a tax credit for 40% of the cost of the investments."
The characteristics that all new greenhouses must feature are:
- Covers that guarantee a prolonged and efficient light transmission
- Pointed arches to diminish condensation
- Top windows so probes and control units can regulate temperature, humidity, and CO2 exchange
- Thermal screens to automatically adapt light and temperature conditions in the various production phases
- Ducts for soil-less production and fertigation so as to optimize the consumption of water and fertilizers.
"In September 2021, Med Group inaugurated a new permanent showroom to showcase some of our solutions to our clients. Now we just need to invite companies and operators to visit us to discuss the various solutions together."