In partnership with Tourism de Algarve and Tourism of Portugal in Ireland, the IPBN has arranged an Agri-Business Conference meant to focus on organic farming, forestry, and the water supply in the Algarve, local products and producers, and what the local businesses and communities are doing to help foster growth and sustainability within the sector. To that end we have arranged a spectacular first panel that will deep dive into these topics and share their insights with attendees.
Panel one of the Agri Business Review will be moderated by IPBN member Brian Shanahan and will feature experts in the field including André Menitra Matos of Vila Vita Parc, Nuno Neto of the Navigator Company, John Paul Prior of Farmony, and Filipa Almeida of Herdade dos Grous. The topics that will be covered range from the impacts of water shortages, the environmental issues that influence business, agriculture and forestry technology, the tourist experience in the Algarve, promoting the local environment and community through sustainability efforts.
Executive Quality Director at VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa, André Menitra Matos, the mastermind behind the implementation of its desalination system in 2015 as a way to work through drought and water shortages by using treated seawater for irrigation. But that wasn't the end. In an interview last year with Lusa reprinted in The Portugal Resident, André said, “We realized that the amount of water from our desalination system would allow us to supply our lakes as well. Now, we are also using it to supply seven pools.” The resort’s desalination station is located underground beneath a tennis court and is imperceptible to guests. It supplies around 70% of Vila Vita Parc’s water needs. Only around 30% of the resort’s water comes from the water distribution system to supply the rooms, bathrooms and restaurants, which is an enormous feat.
Nuno Neto is the Director de Património e Produção Florestal of the Navigator Company, which describes itself as a company that touts industrial, social and environmental sustainability as their business model. According to their website, they are "committed to creating sustainable value for our shareholders and for society as a whole, leaving future generations a better planet through natural, recyclable and biodegradable sustainable products and solutions that contribute to carbon sequestration, the production of oxygen, the protection of biodiversity, soil formation and the fight against climate change...we [also] promote social inclusion and prosperity, and the rural world, where we are drivers of territorial cohesion."
IPBN member and Co-Founder and Strategy Director of Farmony Europe, John Paul Prior aims to build a network of inter-connected, controlled environments through the establishment of vertical farms across the world. Farmony, to quote John from the following video, "allows growers to achieve unprecedented results in farming operations, producing all year-round, hyper-local, pesticide-free produce." The result is happier plants, happier farmers, and an incredibly fresh, delicious yield that could be located a mere door down, or just around the corner.
Filipa Almeida is an agricultural technician and has worked at Herdade dos Grous for thirteen years. The vineyard was described by PortugalVineyards.com as "an exquisite country estate that offers tranquility and unspoiled nature on over 1700 acres. This property offers splendid colorful gardens, 240 hectares of artificial lake, vineyards and olive groves. Its red wine was awarded the title of 'Best red wine in Alentejo 2004'." Filipa has taken part in discussions in Bioinformatics challenges in wine and vineyards, covering important topics like the advanced data management made by the wine and winery sector, their goals, and requirements to make this management successful.