Undercover Farming Expo / ASNAPP Conference to focus on technology and sustainability

Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP) is again joining forces with Undercover Farming Expo, an event focusing on intensive farming techniques and farming industries, to host a conference next year for existing and potential producers and buyers of vegetables, flowers, fruit and seedlings being produced hydroponically under protective cover.

The conference will run concurrently with Undercover Farming Expo and will be held at the Saint George Hotel & Convention Centre in Irene (South Africa) from 5 to 7 March 2013.

Themed ‘Applying technology for sustainability’, the conference will cover topics such as ‘Saving with zero run-off’ and ‘A fresh approach to nutrient solution management’, but also ‘Socially increase the sustainability of the industry’ (referring to aspects such as the ‘Wage act and definition of the labour law’, the ‘Effect of the Consumer Act on the intensive fresh produce grower’, the ‘Logistics for export and import in the Southern African region’, the ‘Status of horticultural production & markets in Africa’ and the ‘Role of AVRDC-The World Vegetable Centre in the development of the fresh produce and vegetable seed industry in east and southern Africa’).

Elton Jefthas, Managing Director for ASNAPP Southern Africa, says the inaugural conference held earlier this year was very well attended with excellent feedback from speakers and delegates. “The reaction following this conference exceeded all our expectations and has set the scene for an excellent conference next year. Our aim with this conference is to investigate and promote reduced carbon emissions from intensive farming practices, to broaden the market base for South African intensive produce, to focus on smallholder farms’ successes with intensive farming, to grow this sector in the industry and to identify where Southern Africa is in terms of being the food basket for the world. This is the ideal opportunity for industry members to rub shoulders with and learn from the foremost industry related experts and to discuss key issues.”

The conference will be held over three days, with generic sessions for the full group and breakaway sessions for specific disciplines such as fruit, flowers and seedlings on the first two days and farm visits on day three.

“Although tunnel or shade-net farming is one of the newest forms of food production in South Africa, many industry experts believe that this method of farming is the answer to the world’s food security problems and also a way of mitigating climate change as it uses less water and has large potential for biological pest control towards safer food production. This expo and conference will cover all the elements involved in hydroponics production, from tunnel construction, growth media and climatisation to seedlings, packaging and export opportunities,” says Jefthas.

The expo is supported by Intensive Agriculture South Africa (IASA), the South African Flower Growers Association (SAFGA) and the Seedling Growers Association of South Africa (SGASA).

For more information about Undercover Farming Expo, including information for exhibitors, conference delegates and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.undercoverfarmingexpo.co.za

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