Twelfth edition of apple-focused trade fair brings issue of water conservation to the fore with its Interpoma Awards

Technological innovation with a focus environmental sustainability was at the heart of this year’s Interpoma, which took place in Bolzano on 17-19 November.

A total of 490 exhibitors – 30 per cent of them from 17 different countries outside Italy – took part in what was the 12th edition of the biannual trade fair dedicated to the apple business. Due to the pandemic, this was the first edition to be held at Fiera Bolzano since 2018.

The event’s opening ceremony included the presentation of the Interpoma Awards 2022, organised in collaboration with the Faculty of Science and Technology of the Free University of Bolzano and the Italian Society for Horticultural Science.

This time, the awards focused on technologies that optimise water management in apple orchards, either by saving water, improving yields, or boosting fruit quality.

The winner in the companies category was Polish group Inventia. Its Agreus system has been recognised as the most complete and user-friendly system that enables irrigation management to be controlled precisely, based on soil water availability and climate parameters.

Thanks to solar powered sensors, wireless transmission, a bespoke app, and an alarm notification system, Agreus helps growers automatically manage the irrigation process.

In addition, it provides tools for managing fertigation, frost control and modelling the development of pathogens.

Also in the companies category, special mention went to planTection, another system used in irrigation control for larger agricultural enterprises or cooperative irrigation schemes, where system complexity and operational safety are decisive criteria.

According to the judges, its modular sensor- and meter-based architecture, as well as its user-friendliness, were among the features worthy of praise.

In the startups category, meanwhile, another smart irrigation system called Odis picked up top prize. Its capacity to integrate different sensors – for both environmental variables and plant conditions – into a versatile, cloud-based app, one which enables farmers to monitor the water status of their orchards, was commended as “highly promising”.

During the event’s Interpoma Congress, sessions focused on the US market and on robotic harvesting among other topics.

Also new this time was the Interpoma Variety Garden, an exhibition of 55 managed or ‘club’ apple varieties from production regions around the world.