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Châtenay-Malabry (FR - 92290), September 20, 2021
EFITA newsletter / 1004 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment
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FIRA 2021, The World Ag Robotics Forum
7 - 9 December 2021 - TOULOUSE (France)
AGRITECHNICA 2022: Passion for agriculture
27 February- 5 March 2022 – HANNOVER (DE)
Six months ahead of the event, the interest in AGRITECHNICA 2022 continues to grow. Around 94 percent of the visitors surveyed are considering visiting the trade fair in Hanover, Germany, according to the latest results from our AGRITECHNICA tracker. 58 percent are already sure that they will visit next year.
There is a strong desire to meet up again in person and the need for information is equally great, for example, in the major trend topics of the industry such as automation, autonomous driving, sustainability and precision farming. Our visitors appreciate coming to Hanover to discuss these topics and to discover innovations.
Weekly newsletters about ICT in Agriculture in English and French
Both newsletters have around 14000 subscribers.
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Tracking covid-19 excess deaths across countries (à voir absolument, la situation dans tous les pays, dont la France, si jamais vous pensez que nous sommes gouvernés par des incapables, vous pourriez changer d’avis !)
In many parts of the world, official death tolls undercount the total number of fatalities.
Excess mortality from Covid-19 compared to normal per 100,000 inhabitants (extract from The Economist table, above URL)
The number 1 was found and still is in the worst situation ... The more you go down the list, the better the situation. The countries led by MM. Putin, Kaczynski, Orban, Bolsonaro, Trump or Johnson, even when they run very rich countries (is it a matter of bad luck?), are doing very badly.
To protect the world’s wildlife we must improve crop yields — especially across Africa
Habitat loss is the largest threat to biodiversity, and most of this loss is driven by agriculture. On our current path, researchers project that we’d need an extra 3.4 million square kilometers of cropland by 2050 — an area the size of India and Germany combined. This would destroy habitats for hundreds if not thousands of species of mammals, birds, and amphibians.
But we have opportunities to avoid this. In this article, we describe how improving crop yields — particularly across Sub-Saharan Africa — would have a massive impact on preserving wildlife. Changing what we eat and how much we waste would also help.
If we combine these actions, the world would actually need less cropland than we use today. The loss of wild habitats across the world would be minimal. It is possible to both feed 10 billion people a healthy, nutritious diet and increase the space for the world’s wildlife.
America has remained unusually vaccine sceptical (read in The Economist newsletter)
Only Russians are more likely to express reservations about the covid-19 jab.
Meet the founder: Retailo’s Talha Ansari talks supply chain digitalization in the Middle East, AFN, by Jack Ellis
Unlike in Europe and North America, grocery shopping in much of Asia and the Middle East doesn’t typically revolve around big-brand supermarket chains stocking everything under the sun.
Instead, your average grocery shop will probably require visits or calls to several separate, small businesses, each independently run and focused on selling a single category such as dairy, meat, or fruits and vegetables.
While the supermarket chains have their own extensive supply chain and logistics capabilities, these smaller ‘mom and pop’ businesses have to handle their own procurement. This typically means multiple, regular trips to different cash-and-carry outlets or farm distributors – costing vendors both money and time.
Are restaurants ready to deploy delivery robots? Following $36m funding, Coco says yes, AFN, by Lauren Manning
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of restaurant and in-store retail tech, as quarantined and locked-down consumers searched for ways to get groceries and prepared meals delivered to their homes.
According to Zach Rash, co-founder and CEO at Coco, many of the existing delivery options fall short.
“These delivery services have a fundamental flaw. A lot of restaurants don’t actually make any money on them because of how much the fees cost,” he says, referring to on-demand delivery apps that aggregate orders and hand them over to subcontracting drivers on mopeds, bicycles, or in cars.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: To the Fountain by Constantin Artachino (1870- 1954)
Indonesian cloud kitchen startup Legit banks $3m seed funding, AFN, by Jack Ellis
‘Virtual restaurant’ Legit was launched in February this year as a joint venture between Yummy Corp — which claims to be Indonesia’s largest cloud kitchen management platform — business accelerator GK Hebat, and hospitality company Ismaya Group. The startup says it wants to become “the leader in creating delivery-first food and beverage brands in Southeast Asia.”
It offers three brands for delivery: Korean fried chicken by Juju Chikin; Italian-Japanese fusion food from Pastaria; and Sei’Tan, which serves the regional delicacy of Timorese barbecue. The startup works out of 45 distribution points across the Greater Jakarta area, selling dishes via food delivery apps such as Gojek and Grab.
Archives of our newsletters in French and English
> Who is afraid of autonomous tractors?
The breakthrough of autonomous tractors and implements will create winners and losers. And whoever is afraid of it, will belong to the latter.
> Machine Vision is Key for Agriculture 4.0
Did you know that machine vision is part of many automation and robotics applications used in agriculture? The software products of MVTec enable innovative technologies and best-in-practice solutions.
> Vertical farming: Vertical farming needs to expand with fruiting crops
What role can vertical farming play in the global food supply in the future? John Purcell, CEO of Unfold, looks into the future of vertical farming.
> Field robots: Japanese fruit growers test XAG R150 field robot
The all-electric XAG R150 robot has been trialled for crop spraying and irrigation in apple, grape, watermelon, and citrus orchards.
> Sustainability: Reducing nitrous oxide emissions from cover crops
Nitrous oxide emissions related to cover crops can be managed, according to Penn State researchers.
> Weed control: Weeds to drag down corn yields in the future
University of Illinois scientists analysed how climate change in combination with late-season weeds effects corn yields.
> Fertilising: Returning nitrogen to soils without chemicals
Australian researchers are investigating the production of a sustainable organic nitrogen fertiliser made from aquatic cyanobacterial biomass.
> Crop protection: Tarvos insect traps show input savings and loss prevention
Brazilian agtech company Tarvos developed smart stations for monitoring caterpillar infestation in crops such as soybean, corn and cotton.
> Satellite data: Airbus and Agrimetrics partner in satellite-based crop data
Crop Analytics, a crop and field analytics package from Airbus, is available now in the UK via Agrimetrics Agrifood Data Marketplace.
Top 5 Agriculture Drones Start-Ups to Know in 2021
These agriculture drones start-ups have been contributing their part to the agriculture sector.
Can Cobots Transform the Agriculture Industry in Asia?
Compared to traditional industrial robots and machinery, cobots are designed to work alongside human employees.
Automated Agricultural Helpers: Ripe for Robots
Crammed with cameras and sensors, the metal crab slowly works its way through the cornfield, according to Bayer. By scanning its environment, the little electronic harvest helper cunningly avoids heaps of earth and plant stems. Sowing, fertilizing, planting, bringing out herbicides or picking fruits: Dozens of these intelligent harvesting machines could be capable of working a complete field independently one day. Only the hushed buzz of their servomotors would reveal their nearly silent work.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Pauza de masa, by Nicolae Enea (1897 – 1960)
IICA and Argentina to Promote the Digitization of Agriculture in the Region
The Inter-American AgTech network seeks to generate a public-private work agenda for jointly addressing the challenges and opportunities of agri-food systems.
Low-Cost Satellite Connectivity Will Power New IIoT Uses Cases Globally
FreeWave's new Fusion Satellite promises reliable IIoT device connectivity where there was none, benefitting industries like agriculture.
Nitrogen fixer Andes scores $15m from Bayer, Wilbur-Ellis to move into carbon capture, AFN, by Jack Ellis
Andes has developed a seed treatment technology which reduces farmers’ reliance on synthetic, chemical-based fertilizers. Named Microprime, the tech combines seeds with a “unique library” of microbes which “colonize” the crop’s root structure as it grows.
These microbes are then able to enhance the plant’s natural nitrogen-fixing capabilities, allowing it to draw larger amounts of nitrogen from the air than would normally be possible. This way, Microprime can eliminate the need for synthetic fertilizers which are sprayed onto plants and typically result in harmful runoff of excess nitrogen into the surrounding environment. And because Andes’ microbes “ride along with the seeds as they get planted,” rather than being shipped in and applied to crops separately, they can save farmers time and money.
Moreover, the manufacturing of nitrogen fertilizers is in itself a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – causing as much as 3% of the global total each year, according to Andes.
Netherlands mulls plan to cut livestock numbers by a third, AFN, by Jack Ellis
- The Dutch government is mulling plans to cut the country’s number of livestock by as much as 30% in an effort to reduce nitrogen emissions and runoff.
- The government is reportedly considering measures such as forcing farmers to sell emissions rights – or even expropriating their land in an effort to drive down animal numbers, according to The Guardian.
- Friends of the Earth‘s Bram van Liere said the proposals are “a step in the right direction,” adding that the environmentalist group “would do more on buying out farmers and helping them transition to sustainable agriculture.”
- The Netherlands Agricultural and Horticultural Organization‘s Wytse Sonnema said the plans would constitute “a land grab” by the government. “Expropriation takes five to seven years before you have results […] We don’t have this time,” he added.
- Agriculture minister Carola Schouten confirmed that forced sales of emissions rights or land would be a last resort, but said some emitters “cannot carry on [as they are] so we must ensure that we have the rules that are necessary.”
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Farmer with pitcher, by Nicolae Grigorescu (1838-1907)
What comes after diesel?
Also in the agricultural sector, the intention is to use less fossil diesel fuel. All of the alternatives have limitations in one form or another: traditional biofuels are politically no longer desirable. Biomethane or electric motors powered by batteries are hampered by their capacity limits. No overarching solution is in sight.
Conclusion: As long as it is permitted and the CO2 charges remain low, tractors will continue to be operated using fossil diesel. At best, the likelihood of saving fuel by means of production processes and therefore reducing emissions could involve the increased automation of operations, because humans are taken out of the equation as the weakest link. In view of the tank or plate debate, biofuel is only an option when it is manufactured from non-foods. That leaves methane from biogas plants or electricity from batteries. Tractors are already operating with these, but such alternative drives are still a long way off from achieving any kind of breakthrough.
Billions are pouring into the business of decarbonization, The Economist (seen in AFN newsletter)
“Nerds will invent the future,” declared Vinod Khosla in 2010. The venture capitalist was not talking about the sorts responsible for e-commerce sites, games apps or social-media platforms. Rather, his speech at the California Institute of Technology was intended to inspire brilliant engineers and scientists to pursue climate-related innovation. The “clean tech” investment bubble had just popped, so it seemed an unsexy career option. But if top talent took on the hard engineering challenges involved, he argued, commercial successes and rising public awareness would produce a “Netscape-like” moment, referring to the web browser that ushered in the consumer internet in the mid-1990s. “Ten years from now,” he predicted, “the level of invention will explode.”
Here’s why your food prices keep going up, The Washington Post, by Laura Reiley & Alyssa Fowers, by Laura Reiley and Alyssa Fowers (seen in AFN newsletter)
Expect to see higher prices in the last quarter of this year in a number of grocery categories. After that, some relief is likely, experts say.
Before the pandemic, most people may not have thought much about where their food came from, how far it traveled or how it was produced. Certain industry phrases have underscored rising grocery bills over the past 18 months. “Turbulence and volatility.” “Unprecedented times.” But one of the biggies is “supply chain disruption.”
Food producers have struggled with shortages, bottlenecks, and transportation, weather and labor woes, all of which have caused food prices to rise. The end is not in sight: Inflation at the wholesale level climbed 8.3 percent last month from August 2020, the Labor Department reported Friday, the biggest annual gain since the department started calculating the number in 2010. Those prices are passed on to consumers: Meat, poultry, fish and eggs are up 5.9 percent over last year, and up 15.7 percent from prices in July 2019, before the pandemic.
Acumen’s new ag fund ushers commercial capital to farmers’ fight against climate change, AFN, by Jessica Pothering
A third of the world’s food is grown on farms less than two hectares in size. That food supply is increasingly jeopardized by climate change. But smallholder farmers lack access to the resources and technologies that are bolstering the climate resilience of larger operations.
New York-headquartered impact investor Acumen wants to ensure that smallholder farmers in Africa have not just a fighting chance against climate change, but can increase productivity to meet the continent’s growing food needs. Based in Nairobi, its $58 million Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF) is investing in tech ventures supporting smallholder farmers’ livelihoods and climate resilience.
“Our goal is to help farmers adopt sustainable practices, weather-smart inputs, increase their income, and reduce their income volatility. When they increase their income and reduce their income volatility, they can save money, so they are ready to absorb the next climate shock,” ARAF managing director Tamer El-Raghy tells AFN.
He says it’s not about climate. So why is Bill Gates investing in farmland? August 27, 2021, by Rebecca Bauer
For many investors, farmland was not on the radar as an investable asset class until earlier this year, when it was revealed that the largest owners of US farmland were none other than Bill and Melinda Gates.
Many were speculating about Gates’ motivation for the acquisitions – was it part of his larger sustainability strategy? As it happens, Gates says these investments are, in fact, not connected to climate. This might have surprised some – even the most savvy investors. But to those familiar with farmland, it’s easy to see why this asset class is so attractive for investors.
Perspective: Chemophobic ignorance is the real poison, by Tim Durham, Plant M.D. Published: August 27, 2021
Indeed, like most controversies, after the facts were unveiled, the risks were decidedly overblown — and it fell into obscurity. Despite the uproar, most were unwilling to give up their munchables.
Presumably, though, social media reignited this customer’s pilot light. They were very exasperated, almost to the point of hyperventilating. What a tortured realization. Were we dosing our customers with poison? What were we doing to contain the risk?
Like your potatoes sufficiently browned? Excessive heat (>340 degrees F) is the major cause of formation. A specific amino acid (asparagine) and sugars react together to form it. Not some sorcery presided over by a cackling witch at a cauldron, but a very routine — and well-documented — reaction. How do we manage it? We’ve always baked at a much lower temperature anyway.
Some other steps?
- Avoid storing potatoes in the fridge. This causes sugar formation. Instead, store in a dark, cool place.
- Blanching (soaking in water for 15-30 minutes and then blotting) pre-cooking will remove many of the precursors necessary for polyacrylamide formation.
- Cooking method also influences formation. For example, frying forms more polyacrylamide than roasting or baking, in that order.
- Cook to a golden yellow rather than brown color (lower temperatures at a reduced time).
- Variety selection. New potato varieties don’t turn golden brown when they’re fried. Instead, they take on a more whitish color.
- There’s also the Simplot potato, a biotech variety that restricts asparagine production at the molecular level.
Technology and best practices for the win! With all this said, are we going a bit overboard? Granted, the above steps don’t hurt anyone, and everyone is free to gauge their individual risk tolerance.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Off To School Henry John Yeend-King (1855 – 1924, English)
Benjamin Rubin and his bifurcated needle
As late as the 1960s, smallpox killed more than two million people per year. There was no cure, but there was a vaccine. The problem was getting it into people’s arms.
It's well known that North Americans work more days than our European counterparts
However, across the developed world, the number of vacation days is increasing.
Human genome sequencing: The Fastest Learning Curve in History? By Gale Pooley
In 2003, scientists sequenced a human genome for the first time. It cost them about one billion dollars.
Today, it costs $1000 to sequence a human genome, and a group of Chinese entrepreneurs at the BGI hope to get the price down to just $100.
If they succeed, the cost of DNA sequencing may amount to the fastest price decline in history.
Physicists Just Made a Major Breakthrough in Fusion Reactor Development
And it could create plasma twice as hot as the sun.
Get Ready for the Nuclear Fusion Revolution
It’s been hyped for decades. But scientific progress — and commercial competition — may soon produce a truly groundbreaking clean-energy technology.
Unlike the cup of Arthurian legend, however, this one is subject to some worldly constraints.
One is technological. It’s no exaggeration to say that building a workable fusion reactor is one of the most complex challenges ever undertaken. Immense technical problems still need solving. Yet federal funding for domestic fusion research has declined by 40% in real terms over the past four decades. An influx in last year’s spending bill should help, but a longer-term commitment is needed to overcome science and engineering hurdles, build a skilled workforce, and lure more talented researchers to U.S. labs.
Money presents a second challenge. Realistically, no company is going to build a fusion reactor without huge new investments. As two recent reports from advisory bodies have suggested, Congress could help by aiming to produce a pilot plant within two decades. With safeguards in place, public-private partnerships with fusion companies could help accelerate this process, control costs and mitigate risks. NASA’s successful collaboration with SpaceX — which hugely reduced the cost of spaceflight in less than a decade — offers a useful model.
Explore our global vaccination dataset, alongside cases, deaths, hospitalizations, testing, and other metrics by country in our COVID-19 Data Explorer.
Which vaccines have been administered in each country?
There are currently 21 different COVID vaccines in use across the world. In many countries multiple vaccines are being administered.
For instance, across countries in the European Union, 6 different vaccines have been used. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been the most administered so far. In Chile and Uruguay, on the other hand, the Sinovac vaccine accounts for the majority of administered doses.
Climate Change: How Innovative Plant Breeding Can Help Feed The World, Nurture The Planet, By Neal Gutterson and Barbara Wells (09/05/21)
However, we can only transform food systems if the benefits of scientific progress are broadly available to farmers across the world. Right now, that's far from assured. The onus falls on policymakers taking part in the upcoming summit to remove obstacles to their use.
Some 10% of the world's population — up to 811 million people — are undernourished; an increase of as many as 161 million over last year. The cost of nutritious foods coupled with persistently high levels of income inequality have put healthy diets out of reach for around 3 billion people.
There's an urgent need to transform our food systems, which are both drivers and victims of climate change, and intertwined with land degradation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and resource depletion. These threats to our planetary life-support systems propel infectious disease, poor health, and economic inequality, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization at the U.N.
The Southern white rhino is one of the biggest conservation victories in history
At the end of the 19th century, the animal was nearly extinct, with just a handful of specimens on a reserve in South Africa. Since then, the population has rebounded.
The explosive growth of the white rhino population after 1990 was due to the introduction of market incentives for conservation and breeding.
Multilevel marketing companies use social media to market food scams, by By Food Science Babe
Multilevel marketing companies, or MLMs, have exploded over the last few decades. Chances are, especially if you fall in the demographic of a 30- to 40-year-old woman, if you haven’t bought something from one already, you’ve received a DM from someone who you vaguely remember from high school asking you if you’d like to learn about an “amazing opportunity.”
These companies, which are basically just legal pyramid schemes, employ extremely predatory sales tactics to take advantage of particularly stay-at-home moms. What they usually don’t tell you upon recruitment is that 99 percent of MLM participants either don’t make any money or actually lose money.
In addition to these problematic sales and recruitment practices, there are several in particular that tend to spread a lot of misinformation in order to sell their products. These sales tactics are reminiscent of the “snake oil” type salesman tactics of over a hundred years ago: Fabricate a problem (usually at the expense of science literacy) and sell the solution.
Here I’m going to explore three viral videos I’ve come across on social media in which MLM salespeople are making false claims in order to sell their products, and I’ll explain why their claims are entirely false, based on some pretty basic science concepts.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Sewing At The Cottage Door Henry John Yeend-King (1855 – 1924, English)
These popular tuna species are no longer endangered, surprising scientists, byJason Bittel, 6 Sept 2021)
From fish to Komodo dragons, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has updated its list of the world’s most endangered species.
Africa is changing fast. Its economy is rapidly growing, and its population is flocking to cities, some of which are projected to be among the largest in the world
Michela Wrong has spent over two decades writing about the continent, covering everything from the fall of Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko to the Rwandan genocide.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: The Path By The Mill Henry John Yeend-King (1855 – 1924, English)
‘Soledades del campo andaluz’ - 6 fotos
Humberto Ybarra es el autor de las fotografías publicadas esta semana en la sección de Opinión
Europa huérfana para Xavier Vidal-Folch
Fue más doloroso, porque esta vez el jefe de filas era normal. Mejor: prometía reencarnar a Franklin Roosevelt.
Dejemos de reventar la conversación pública (en Mexico)
Es tiempo de convocar al diálogo e insistir en que es posible a pesar de las estridencias.
La exploración y el paisaje: ¿cómo se hicieron los mapas? Con Eduardo Martínez de Pisón, Geógrafo y escritor
Un científico con alma de explorador romántico, un escritor amante de los paisajes, un hombre del Renacimiento en pleno siglo XXI. Así es Eduardo Martínez de Pisón, geógrafo, alpinista, escritor, profesor y figura de referencia en España para la conservación del medio natural. Durante más de 50 años, este sabio apasionado de las montañas ha hecho de ellas su vida y su profesión.
Murphy, Collins And Vella
Murphy, Collins and Vella are drinking in a pub when a drunk comes in, staggers up to them, and points at Collins, shouting,
“Your mum’s the best shag in town!”
Everyone expects a fight, but Collins ignores him, so the drunk wanders off and stick his nose into a pint of Guinness at the far end of the bar.
Ten minutes later, the drunk comes back, points at Collins again, and says,
“I just screwed your mum, and it was grand!”
Again Collins refuses to take the bait, and the drunk goes back to the far end of the bar.
Ten minutes later, he comes back and announces, “Your mum said it was the best thing since sliced bread!”
Finally, Collins interrupts. “Go home, Dad,… you’re pissed!”
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