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Colloquium: Challenges in Modern Horticulture: Greenhouse Technology

Event Details:

  • Date:       Thursday 23 May 2019
  • Time:      Starts: 16:00
  • Venue:    The Cyprus Institute – Guy Ourisson Building, Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker: Dr. Polycarpos Polycarpou, Chief Agricultural Reseach Officer, Production Division, Agricultural Research Institute, Cyprus
The colloquium will be in English and the event is open to the public.

Live streaming of the lecture will be available on The Cyprus Institute’s YouTube Channel
Live streaming is facilitated by the CySTEM project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement No. 667942.


Abstract

Despite its downward trend, the broad agricultural sector in Cyprus continues to be one of the strategic sectors due to its contribution to the production of essential food, to exports, to employment and the maintenance of a large proportion of the population in the countryside. The agricultural sector is facing serious problems due to the drought that Cyprus suffers from time to time, frosts and other extreme weather events due to the climate change affecting our region, which significantly affect agricultural production. In addition, the small market in Cyprus, the lack of co-ordinated exports of agricultural products and, on the other hand, the lack of co-ordinated production according to market needs often create conditions of over-supply and perfect competition with disastrous consequences for producers' income.

The sector also faces a problem of reduced competitiveness due to high production costs (labour, imported raw materials, etc.) and low productivity (structural problems and weaknesses in modernization, technology, methods of management, etc.). There is a serious problem with the reduced area of ​​arable land due to the absorption of fertile land by tourism and residential development. The rapid expansion of the cities and the "expansion" of their zones of influence, unexpectedly leads to the irreversible shrinkage of the Agricultural Zones, which have developed over time in fertile areas around towns and villages. The solution is to intensify production by growing in greenhouses, which further increases the cost of production due to the high costs involved in the construction of modern greenhouses. The cultivation of fresh aromatic plants, cut flowers and especially fresh vegetables in greenhouses allows, to a considerable extent, control of the conditions of the environment in which they grow, resulting in the possibility of producing off-season products, that is to say, during periods when the crops on the field is impossible or problematic due to the adverse conditions of the natural environment and, above all, of temperature.

The significant spread of greenhouse cultivation in various crops in Cyprus over the last 30 years, is mainly due to the favourable climate, the need for intensive exploitation of the small agricultural plots, the need to protect crops from extreme weather events and the increase in demand for products produced off-season. Simple greenhouses operating today cannot ensure the required quality required by the market, nor the stable and year-round production demanded by large agricultural importers in Europe and the Cypriot market. It is therefore necessary to construct modern greenhouses that, with the use of new technology and new cultivation practices, achieve the production of quality products free from pesticides and other harmful substances that save irrigation water and energy in the context of sustainable production and environmental protection.

About The Speaker

Dr Polycarpos PolycarpouDr. Polycarpos Polycarpou, Chief Agricultural Research Officer, is now Head of the Production Division at the Agricultural Research Institute and is engaged in research in Agricultural Engineering. After studying Mechanical Engineering at the HTI in Cyprus, he studied Mechanical Engineering (Energy and Process Engineering, Agricultural Engineering) at the University of Hanover in Germany, with an MSc and PhD obtained from the same University. In 2004 he also obtained an MSc in Management and Public Administration at the Mediterranean Institute of Management.

He worked in both the private and public sector in agriculture. For 37 years conducting research on environmental control issues of greenhouses (ventilation, cooling, heating, humidity control, etc.) and their heating by using solar and shallow geothermal energy. He deals with the development of open and closed hydroponic systems, drying of agricultural products using alternative energy sources and with energy plants issues and biofuel production from biomass (biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas, solid fuels). He works in biodiesel and bio-product production from microalgae and the development of Photobioreactors for their optimized cultivation. He also deals with the use of recycled water in agriculture and managing water resources for irrigation of crops and generally with the application of new technology in agriculture.

Since 2017 he cooperates with the Cy.I. as an Adjunct Associate Professor.

He participated and participates as a coordinator and as a collaborator in various European research projects and in RPF programs on the subjects of his expertise.

 

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Additional Info

  • Date: Thursday 23 May 2019
  • Time: Starts: 16:00
  • Speaker: Dr. Polycarpos Polycarpou
  • Speaker Position: Chief Agricultural Reseach Officer, Production Division, Agricultural Research Institute, Cyprus