HortiMED is driven by the requirements of the Mediterranean horticultural communities, the increased competition and urgent need for technological update, climate-related constrains and the ever-growing food demand. The aim of HortiMED is to provide farmers with innovative tools to enable resource efficient year round greenhouse cultivation by harnessing the potential of both simple and advanced technologies for smart nutrient, irrigation and climate control, and integrated pest management taking into account their feasibility and cost-effectiveness at individual greenhouse level.
HortiMED’s approach pivots around two main axes:
- Enabling smart greenhouse management through a Decision Support System (DSS) that integrates sensors, smart algorithms, efficient greenhouse control procedures and applies artificial intelligence techniques for enhanced adaptive greenhouse management.
- Increasing circularity of horticulture by using biological agro-ecological technologies to close the loop in Mediterranean greenhouses through aquaponics.
The core of HortiMED will be a user-friendly and flexible DSS capable of delivering:
- Expert advisory services to help farmers in intensive knowledge tasks where climatic, crop and nutrient variables decisively influence crop growth and productivity (i.e. integrated pest management, precise water and fertilisers’ needs).
- Efficient and cost-effective partial or full automation of greenhouse systems. HortiMED DSS will handle a wide range of heterogeneous data, and will apply Artificial Intelligence techniques to continuously learn from historical databases to forecast production yields and expected greenhouse conditions, allowing developing enhanced adaptive smart algorithms for climate, irrigation and nutrient control and automation. HortiMED technologies will be validated in low, medium and high technology greenhouses from Egypt, Algeria and Spain to demonstrate their economic feasibility and environmental sustainability.
HortiMED will equip farmers with innovative & cost-effective tools for resource efficient production of high quality food products, contributing to the rational management of water and to the development of sustainable farming systems, and helping Mediterranean countries in the implementation of Agenda 2030 by contributing to several SDGs, like increasing the proportion of agricultural area under productive & sustainable agriculture (SDG2) or fighting eutrophication trends (SDG6).