Strawberries being grown in solar-powered greenhouses – Berre l’Etang – Photo credit: Urbasolar
Producing together, differently and better.
This summer, the 3 partners made official their collaboration agreement at an event where they presented their common approach to advancing research into farming methods using solar-powered greenhouses.
Huge increase in farming challenges
Modern agriculture is having to grapple with numerous challenges. Environmental changes are disrupting ecosystems and increasingly sparse resources are forcing growers to adapt their farming methods. Added to this are new expectations from consumers who want quality farming which is respectful of the environment and produce that comes from nearer to where they live.
Cultivation in greenhouses can help respond to many of these challenges – it allows crops to be protected from adverse weather conditions, it means growers can work in ways which are more respectful of the environment and it can also produce zero-carbon energy. Solar-powered greenhouses can meet these challenges.
It was against this backdrop that INRAE, Mycophyto and Urbasolar decided to combine their skills and develop an innovative Research & Development program aimed specifically at growers.
Objectives of the R&D program
The objectives of this program are to contribute to a better understanding of solar-powered greenhouses from a technical and agronomics viewpoint, learn about the complexities that these systems involve in order to bring about continuous improvement of agricultural production facilities and also to optimize yields.
Based on the monitoring of crops and their development via the collection of extensive datasets (agronomic, climatic), the R&D program is supporting growers in their daily work, as they strive to produce quality agricultural products and respond to new expectations from consumers and also from regulators.
To start this program, 4 partner growers agreed to open their greenhouses and their current crops to Urbasolar and their partners to carry out all necessary studies and measurement programs to allow us to better understand a full-scale solar-powered greenhouse facility under actual production conditions on a farm. The crops being studied are strawberries, tomatoes, corn salad, zucchini and eggplant.
Each grower receives long-term support, with special technical monitoring, regular visits and meetings in order to optimize their agricultural production and continuously improve the system.
A program that is set to become long-term
Armed with relevant and encouraging initial results, the program is being expanded to other producers and will continue into the coming years.
«We are really pleased with this program which is being conducted in partnership with INRAE and Mycophyto, who share our values, particularly as it places the grower at the center of our attention and supports them over the long-term, helping them to increase their agricultural output in an environmentally-friendly way. «, says Arnaud Mine, President of Urbasolar.
«Innovation and commitment to growers are our core values at Mycophyto. We are therefore proud to collaborate with INRAE and Urbasolar in this project which brings together agronomics and ecology, and advances research into agricultural methods using solar-powered greenhouses. » Justine Lipuma, CEO & Co-founder of MYCOPHYTO