Agribusiness stakeholders, representatives of public and private technical and financial institutions, international organizations, donors, NGOs and academia from various countries presented over 120 new solutions at the UNIDO International Conference on Sharing Innovative Agribusiness Solutions. The Conference, which was held in Cairo in November 2008.
In the context of the global food crisis, innovation in agribusiness – one of the main drivers of sustainable development- is imperative. The solutions showcased at the Conference are already being successfully implemented and replicated in other developing countries. Of these, fifteen were short-listed for their innovative character and their potential to help developing countries attract agribusiness-related investments. Numerous interactive sessions gave valuable insight on relevant issues such as supply and value chains, market access and linkages, compliance with standards and conformity assessment, technology and value addition, and innovative forms of financing.
Yoshi Uramoto, Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said: "The conference will also provide opportunities for matchmaking and networking between those participants who are seeking ways to achieve sustainable agribusiness development and those with innovative solutions, as well as those with financing for development assistance and investment."
In addition to parallel sessions and discussions on main agribusiness topics, a matchmaking event was organized by the UNIDO Investment Promotion Unit (IPU) in Egypt. This brought together more than 110 companies interested in replicating innovative agribusiness solutions. Over 350 bilateral meetings were organized and potential partners found common interest in access to finance, technology transfer and trade capacity building.
At the closing ceremony, awards were given to the best innovative solutions. Winners included ITC Limited from India (to provide updated information on crops for remote Indian villages), the COLEACP-PIP (to enable compliance solutions for the export of fruits and vegetables), Passive Refrigeration from Italy (to maintain the cold chain from farms to markets) and Sri Lanka’s Cargills (Ceylon) Ltd (to link small farmers directly to markets).
Nomos passive refrigeration technology enables producers to maintain the fresh/cold chain from farms to markets independent of a continuous power supply. It thus reduces post-harvest, post-slaughter and post-milking waste and provides safer food to consumers. The solution, competitive in price compared to conventional technology, enables saving in energy and maintenance costs.
The storage life of all perishable foodstuff depends on the quality of the cold-fresh chain and its application from the field/slaughtery/fishing/processing to the point of sale. The operation of conventional cold-fresh chain requires H24 large amounts of electricity and the quality of preservation is such that timing becomes an extremely critical factor. The main features of PRSTM (see www.refrigerazionepassiva.com ) are: the quality of preservation, which results in a longer storage life; multiple vs. conventional refrigeration technology; thermal autonomy, which allows the system to operate without using power while functioning, thus resulting in a continuous cold/fresh chain not dependent on connection to an external power supply.