The "Fresh Fruit" is a pilot project of the “High Tech Farming” interregional partnership within the Smart Specialisation Thematic Platforms on Agri-food and Industrial Modernisation. The project brings together technological solutions surrounding fresh fruits (grapes, kiwis, etc.). It aims to test and establish these technologies at demonstration farms and farms that act as living labs throughout Europe. The three test sites of the project are located in the Region of Central Macedonia and Tuscany Region.
The “High Tech Farming” interregional partnership aims to modernise the agricultural sector by improving the uptake and implementation of high-tech solutions across various agricultural sectors. The partnership seeks to create an ecosystem for testing, dissemination and commercialisation of technological solutions and to connect regional authorities, demonstration farms and technology providers.
“FreshFruit” is one of the two projects currently running in the context of the “High Tech Farming” partnership. The starting point of the pilot project was the strong interest of the American Farm School in Thessaloniki and the Region of Central Macedonia to better address the needs of regional producers. They decided to develop a new service, which aims to improve the quality and overall management of table grape and kiwi production in the Region. The development of the new service was inspired by the experiences of Tuscany Region and their demonstration farm in Alberese, which shows in practice the economic benefits of viticulture and selective harvesting.
Through the “Fresh Fruit” project, the Region of Central Macedonia and the American Farm School support farmers, packers, international importers and retailers to develop high-tech entrepreneurship in the Region. The technologies, which will be piloted in the project’s demonstration sites, were selected on the basis of their potential to contribute to the integration of the agri-food supply chain. They will improve cultivation processes in the Region and will enhance the international trade opportunities of local enterprises. In a longer term, the project will increase the ability of farmers to self-finance the adoption of digital technologies and will support major players in the supply chain that can champion new technologies and create a viable market.
The project activities include both the creation of an innovation ecosystem in the Region as well as the testing of new pilot technologies. The ecosystem comprised of farmers, suppliers (including nurseries), clients (including importers and retailers), field advisors, technology providers, researchers and trainers, private funds and public stakeholders. The American Farm School plays the role of integrator, acting both as a competence centre and as a digital innovation hub. The participating regions, outside Central Macedonia, provide connections with technology providers, thus opening international market opportunities for newly commercialised technologies.