”Agriculture in motion” will be the theme of the International Agricultural Exhibition this year. This annual week-long event dedicated to French agriculture and gastronomy will be held in Paris from February 22nd to March 2nd. Breaking with the traditional image of the event, innovation will be emphasized this as new technologies applied to agriculture, urban farming and international cooperation enjoy the spotlight.
Demonstrating the importance of advanced technologies in agriculture
“We wanted to break the public’s classical perception of agriculture and show its true colors,” said Jean-Luc Poulain, one of the exhibition’s organizers.
A whole area will be dedicated to the latest technologies used in agriculture: milking robots that improve the quality and quantity of milk produced by cows, GPS guidance, on-board computers for tractors, and even drones for flying over crop fields.
Urban agriculture: a challenge for the future of cities
Pushed forward by the director of the exhibition Juana Moreno, urban agriculture will also be featured this year. The organizers’ goal is to show that urban agriculture is a strong ongoing trend in France and in the world, and not just the project of a small number. Shared gardens and rooftop gardens are part of the solutions against pollution and densification; they can improve the city dwellers’ quality of life. The Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences AgroParisTech will be displaying a model of the garden that has been set on the school’s rooftop for 3 years.
The organizers also want to raise awareness about the loss of agricultural land to urbanization. “The cities are eating up too much agricultural land; we have to think of new ways of bringing the countryside in the city but also to preserve the countryside from the city.” said the Minister for Agriculture, Food Industry and Forestry, Stéphane Le Foll.
Building international cooperation
“The future of French agriculture and food culture will be a frontrunner in the challenge and pursuit of a globalized agriculture” declared Deputy Minister for Food Industry Guillaume Garot. “France has to play a leading role in the global agrifood industry market.” Thus, this year, the International Agricultural Exhibition will be hosting two days of conferences on euro-Mediterranean cooperation, family farming, and food security.
New categories in the century-old « Concours Général Agricole » food and wine completion
The Agricultural Exhibition has always been a way of showcasing the French agricultural products through the « Concours Général Agricole »; a huge competition that delivers high-quality labels. More than 16,400 wines and 4,600 products are reviewed. Beef and whisky will join the 21 other product categories in the competition this year, in which bronze, silver and gold medals will be awarded to the best of these 4,600 products. Moreover, a “flower-filled meadows” category has been created in order to emphasize the agro-environmental qualities of permanent pastures.
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