News

Replicability of VISCA: Wine-grapes, Olives & Cereals – Challenges, Requirements and Funding

One of the objectives of VISCA project is to evaluate the replicability potential in the wine sector in different countries globally as well as to evaluate the replicability of the tool in other crops such as (olive oil, cereals, etc.). This evaluation involves exploring EU funding mechanisms for further deployment. During VISCA 2nd Stakeholders’ Workshop, end-users and members from the Project Advisory Board participated at a session to gather inputs on the challenges, requirements and funding for the replicability of VISCA which are summarised below.

Climate change: Challenges facing the Agriculture sector

Climate change is threatening different varieties of agriculture species such as wine-grapes, olives and cereals which might cause a significant reduction in crop quantity and quality. Some of the impacts of climate change include the following:  

  • Drought and heat waves - in southern regions of the Mediterranean basin– more frequent drought periods together with higher temperatures, especially during the summer, have resulted in water scarcity and, consequently, less water is available for irrigation.
  • Frost - In northern and southern Europe, e.g. Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, agricultural productivity has been facing longer frost periods than usual which damage the crops.
  • Wildfires - Warmer and drier conditions are expected throughout Europe in the coming decades which will probably exacerbate wildfires. According to the Emergency Management Service of the EU agency Copernicus as of March 1, there have been 480 wildfires in 2019 across Europe.[1]
  • Extreme events - High intensity rainfall and/or hail, among other extreme events, have been extended and become more severe in Europe and beyond. The rate of these events is expected to increase due to climate change.[2]

The main challenges of the wine-grapes, olive and cereals sectors in the context of climate change were identified as the following:

  • To keep the quality and production of crops
  • To deal with extreme events and variations in climate conditions
  • To manage the irrigation efficiently according to existent resources and weather conditions
  • To prevent or minimize crop diseases and pests especially with their increasing rate due to climate change
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VISCA concludes its 2nd General Meeting & Stakeholders’ Workshop

Organised by Mastroberardino and the University of Naples (Department of Agricultural Sciences), VISCA project - which is developing climate services to make the wine industry resilient to climate change - held its 2nd General meeting on 10th-11th December 2018 followed by the 2nd Stakeholders Workshop on 12th December 2018 in the premises of Mastroberardino and the Department of Agriculture – Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II who are part of our consortium.

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Using image analysis to accurately determine the number of flowers per bunch for research purposes

Having a reliable method to get the number of flowers in a bunch is critical to analyze the effects of different stresses (biotic or abiotic) on blooming and fruit set. Here, it is presented a simple, yet, accurate method to obtain the number of flowers per bunch using a free software image analyzer. The bunches, are randomly selected at the experimental site and take it to the lab. In the lab, flowers are detached from the calyptra and placed in a black matt plastic sheet. Flowers are gently spread on the plastic sheet to avoid overlapping.  Next, a picture is taken using a camera fixed to a holder. The plastic sheet must have a reference length for the further analysis with the software. The image is processed using the ImageJ software. Once processed, the number and perimeter of each flower are obtained.  The bias analysis gives an overestimate of nearly 10 flowers, which, given the number of flowers per bunch, (for Tempranillo it could be more than 800) it can be considered an acceptable error. However, the bias can be diminished if a specific calibration is set. The images do not need to be clean. Non-desired elements can be removed from the analysis by applying a filtering method. The present methodology provides a simple, fast and precise technique to obtain the number of flowers in a bunch for research purposes.* 

*An abstract presented by Garcia-Tejera, O1, Oliver-Manera, J1 , Mata, M and Girona,Jat the International Congress on Grapevine and Wine Sciences. To download the post, click here.

1Efficient Use of Water Program, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA), Parc de Gardeny, Edifici Fruitcentre, 25003 Lleida, Spain

 

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VISCA project at Med'Agri 2018

Organised by the Regional Chamber of Agriculture in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and a multi-sector committee on 16 - 18  October 2018 in Avignon, France, the MED'Agri trade faire was entirely dedicated to the  agricultural production and the agri-technology.

A lot of showcase of innovative techniques were presented during the event. MED'Agri is aimed at professionals of all the agricultural production sectors and farmers and in particular those represented in the South of the France: market gardening, arboriculture, viticulture, olive growing, breeding and also horticulture, beekeeping, truffle, aromatic and fragrant plants, etc. VISCA project was presented at a dedicated stand by SEMIDE as well as the projects involved at the Common Dissemination Booster: WEAM4i and OpIRIS.

For further information, check the official website.

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Climateurope Festival 2018: Fostering the Collaboration among Climate Services Community

The 2nd edition of the Climateurope Festival was organised in Belgrade from 17th to 19th October 2018 in order to support the exchange of knowledge and cultivate efforts for climate change adaptation and mitigation informed by science. The event brought researchers, suppliers, and funders with an emphasis on participants from Central and Eastern Europe. Varied programme was offered including lectures, discussions and networking to explore the state-of-the-art of climate information, and its uses and value in decision-making.

VISCA project was presented during the Climateurope Festival 2018 in 2 different sessions, one on the “Future of wine: Round table / Impulse talks” on October 18th and the other on “Climate information at your services I. Agriculture: Storytelling session & Round table” on October 19th.

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VISCA at the EU AgriResearch Conference

On 2nd-3rd May 2018, the EU AgriResearch Conference took place in Brussels targeting scientists, farmers, rural communities, industry, advisors, policy-makers, citizens and NGO representatives who wish to learn about EU agriculture and rural R&I activities and achievements and have their say on how to shape the future of agriculture R&I after 2020. The conference was also a great occasion to network with around 500 peers.

During the conference, different topics about the H2020 program and priorities in the agriculture sector were presented including presentations about EU-funded projects.  The implementation of the strategic approach to EU agricultural R&I and present its first achievements on knowledge produced, linkages established between EU policies or new avenues opened in terms of implementation approaches were discussed.

Few farmers also participated in the event and some discussions on how to better involve them took place concluding that the language and the timing of harvest season should always be taken into consideration.

VISCA project was disseminated during the event by SEMIDE. Exchanges and contacts were gathered in order to make collaborations in the replicability and synergies foreseen in the project.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730253.