Innovation & Technologies at CITAB's international congress

The digital (r)evolution in the agro-food & forestry sectors discussed in a congress jointly organized by CITAB and INESC TEC.

On December 12th and 13th 2019 took place another international event organized by CITAB, focused in the "Digital Agro-food & Forestry (r)evolution", including the Internet of Things and Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Remote Sensing. Within a collaboration with INESC TEC, this 2-day congress gathered prominent keynote speakers from Australia and Spain and also from the industry. The opening session had the presence of the Portuguese Secretary of State for Interior Valorisation, Isabel Ferreira, who encouraged the initiative and highlighted the importance of emerging technologies and their understanding. “Pursuing precision agriculture, without waste, in the most appropriate place and at the right time is essential. The digital revolution will have a considerable impact on the integrated development of regions. Knowledge and technology transfer actions have to be promoted.” The first day featured presentations in different areas of agriculture and forestry by national and international experts. The keynote speakers Cristina García Viguera and Raúl Dominguez-Perles, from the Spanish institute CEBAS-CSIC, addressed the needs of contribution of digital modelling to functional food, and José Maria Tallon, physician, spoke about a recently created digital platform for obesity control. Ana Barros, CITAB Director, addressed the spectroscopic method for traceability and authentication of food matrices, and during her presentation, disclosed the current cooperation with the Portuguese Mint and Official Printing Office (INCM). The existent equipment (FTIR) in Phytochemicals Laboratory, unique at national level, allows the identification of the authenticity of the food matrices and whether they have been altered. Since INCM is responsible for the quality guarantee of wines and, in recent times, they have had some problems with adulterations in Pêra Manca and Barca Velha wines (the most expensive ones), with this collaboration, real bottles will be compared with products purchased abroad, mainly from the Chinese market, and verify if its authentic or adulterated. Still during the morning session, keynote speaker Sigfredo Fuentes (University of Melbourne), brought insights about the new and emerging technologies for the digital agriculture of the future, with initiatives such as the vineyard of the future, machine learning modelling, integration of technologies: from tree to the palate, among others. On the afternoon, the session was devoted to technological innovations applied to the forestry sector, with keynote speaker Alexandra Marques (INESC TEC), focusing on digital technologies for more resilient and sustainable forest value chains, explaining the functioning of distribution chains in the sector. The second day of the Congress started with Rui Soares, from Real Companhia Velha, presenting technological innovations for a sustainable viticulture in the Douro wine region. The morning ended with a debate dedicated to viticulture, with CITAB and INESC TEC specialists, and a technical visit to Quinta das Carvalhas, in Douro Demarcated Region. CITAB Director, Ana Barros, and José Boaventura, Coordinator of the INESC TEC Pole at UTAD, expressed the “pleasure for the success of the initiative” that brought to UTAD renowned national and international specialists, whose contributions can in fact address the needs and challenges of the industry, promoting the use of new technologies for a more sustainable food production.