The Food and Agriculture Research and Technology Institute (IRTA) celebrated its more than 30 years dedicated to agro-food research in an event that also served as a framework for reflection for the upcoming challenges.
It took place on March 15th at the World Trade Center auditorium in Barcelona, and it hosted around 400 guests.
IRTA’s vocation is research, which aims to help the Catalan food industry produce healthy, safe and nutritious food for a growing global population and ever-changing world.
Since its inception, the institution has worked and prepared to meet emerging challenges. The global context is becoming more complex in terms of climate, society, ethics and sustainability, and IRTA must contribute to the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.
During the gala dinner, Josep M. Monfort, Managing Director of IRTA, listed the six major challenges we face in the coming years:
Sustainable and ethical intensification of food production in changing Mediterranean conditions.
Enough food: ensure the supply of food to people in a climate change scenario.
One Health: food production and consumption to preserve and improve consumers’ health.
New production and food processing models, improving consumers’ trust and involving them in food production.
The application of new key technologies that enhance the innovation process (Big Data, nanotechnology, epigenetics, etc.)
Strengthening the Catalan agri-food system.
IRTA’s scientific director, Dr. Conxita Royo stressed that IRTA ranks among the top 25% scientific institutions in the world based on research, innovation and social impact, according to the SCImago 2016 report.
Speakers from different organisations such as New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research, Uruguay’s INIA (National Institute for Agricultural Research) and Wageningen University in the Netherlands also took part.
Laia Fitó (R&D Director, Semillas Fitó) was one of the speakers, and her talk focused on presenting and reviewing the close collaboration that has developed between our company and the institution over time. Semillas Fitó and IRTA, who have shared goals and concerns since their respective inceptions, have worked together and through a joint task force on improving cereal, melon and vegetable species. Through these synergies and great teamwork, they have established an open relationship of mutual trust which has bolstered close professional and personal ties.
Once the event concluded, in line with its values and mission, IRTA offered attendees a dinner prepared from foods that would have otherwise been discarded, which made it possible to save 220 kg of food, save 140m3 of water and avoid 55kg CO2 emissions.
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