Active participation of IFAPA and AGAPA in a course of the University of Almeria

IFAPA and AGAPA presented different experiences acquired and results from the executed pilot tests within the REINWASTE project undertaken to improve sustainability by reducing waste and by-products of interest in the horticultural sector. The course was attended by over 100 people, more than three times the 30 initially planned.

The university course "Management of by-products and horticultural challenges: a possible circularity" was, in this occasion, organized online due to COVID 19, by the Association of Agricultural Technical Engineers of Almeria-Spain (COITAAL) in collaboration with the University of Almeria (UAL), and it was held from June 29 to July 1 within the XXI Edition of the Summer Courses of the UAL.

The course was inaugurated by the Dean of the University of Almeria, Carmelo Rodríguez, and the Coordinator of the course, M. del Carmen Salas, leading up to a series of presentations by specialists and experts in the subject from both the public and private agri-food production sector. The course was attended by over 100 people, more than three times the 30 initially expected. 

The main objective of this course was to introduce the attendants to the principal types of waste generated in the horticultural sector of Almería and the existing sustainable alternatives to promote the prevention, minimization, recycling and reuse of waste to achieve a more sustainable horticulture within the paradigm of the circular economy. Among the presentations that were given, it is worth mentioning those made by some of the IFAPA REINWASTE project members (horticulture-primary sector). In this sense, Samir Sayadi Gmada, presented the conference entitled "Towards zero inorganic waste in the agri-food value chain: The REINWASTE project", as well as that of Fátima Rojas Serrano and Carmen Rocío Rodríguez Pleguezuelo, who presented the main results of the "Alternative sustainable materials for application in mulching and skating techniques in horticulture". Additionally, Mariana Lorbach Kelle, AGAPA member of REINWASTE project, gave a talk on "International experiences in the management of waste and by-products”.

Due to the current situation of covid-19, a “virtual visit” to different IFAPA research centers was undertaken, mainly focused in IFAPA center of `La Mojonera´ (Almería, Spain), concretely with the virtual visit to the compost plant and the exposition of other research projects similar to REINWASTE, focusing in the promotion of circular bioeconomy in the horticultural sector. 

Additionally, several experts from the horticultural value chain also contributed to this course, showing the advances in traceability and the different levels of gestion, articulated by the commercialization-transportation-management waste trinomial, as well as the good business practices in the horticultural sector.

Thus, in spite of this complex context due to the pandemic, this year the well-known courses of the University of Almería have been an excellent opportunity to transfer the knowledge acquired and the most important results of the pilots executed in the horticultural primary sector throughout the development of the REINWASTE project to different sectors interested in this topic: experts, university students, technicians, researchers, agricultural organizations, general public, among others.

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