Climate Show: Food Security & Climate-Smart Agriculture @ Aqua4D, Sierre

Last week, Aqua4D had the honour of welcoming some of the brightest innovators from Switzerland and beyond to its new HQ in Sierre, Valais.

The Climate Show arrived in Sierre after the Lausanne, Geneva, and Zurich versions, with a special “Food Security & Climate-Smart Agriculture” programme featuring thought leaders and startups alike.  With such a major event taking place in Sierre, the municipality’s President, Pierre Berthod, was in attendance.

Mr. Berthod kicked off the evening with an optimistic call-to-action: “Sustainability is even enshrined in the Swiss constitution,” he said. “I believe that Switzerland and Valais have an exemplary role to play in combatting climate change with creative and innovative solutions.”

Nadia Plata from the Climate Show explained that this indeed was the idea behind the burgeoning event – to raise the profile of innovative sustainable solutions being rolled out in Switzerland and beyond. Clean technologies have seen huge growth in the country in an incredibly short time, as shown by stats from Eric Plan at Cleantech Alps, with a roadmap for further adoption and mainstream entry as of 2020.

NGOs such as the Swiss Climate Foundation have a big role to play in funding this innovative roll-out. Nadine Monnay told the audience how their foundation has provided vital early-stage funding to projects such as Ecrobotix, Joulia and Libattion, as well as an initiative to help SMEs become more environmentally friendly.

One of the evening’s highlights was a rare Swiss talk given by Ian Jarvis of the GEOGLAM (Group on Earth Observations). He showed a captivated audience how his team’s accurate satellite data helps avert agricultural and hence societal crises – literally saving lives, and boosting food security.

Two more agricultural technologies – Aqua4D and 2Grow – demonstrated how unprecedented efficiency boosts to irrigation can lead to minimal losses and increased food security, through extreme optimization of the growing process. Aqua4D is changing paradigms to a more sustainable and water-smart agriculture, with a disruptive irrigation technology. 2Grow were visiting from their Belgian base, where they’re spreading Ag 4.0 precision measurements so that in a brave new horticultural world, absolutely nothing is left to chance anymore. By tracking factors like a plant’s sap flow or stress rates, they can precisely monitor the effect of all inputs on the plant in real time.

Last but certainly not least, Agrosustain’s founder, Olga Dubey – who appeared on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list in 2019, introduced her company’s solution to combat mold, leading to significantly less food waste, and hence increased turnover for producers and improved security around the world, hitting several SDGs in the process.

The evening was topped off by a sustainable buffet with ultra-local food and drink, including wine from the oldest vineyard in Valais and plant-based meat sandwiches from Luzern’s “Planted AG”.

All in all, it was an evening which left all attendees optimistic that Switzerland and Europe will lead the way in helping agriculture adjust to climate-friendly and water-smart modes of operation.

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