Their forces for the creation of an open “innovation ecosystem” aimed at the Digital Transformation of Agricultural Production in Naxos are joined by Amazon Web Servicesthe organization “Laguna Coast Foundation”the University of Patras (Laboratory of Plant Production) and Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Naxos.

The project in question is implemented within the framework of the flagship action “Naxos – smart island” which is supported by the Ministries of Digital Governance, Development, Shipping and Island Policy, the South Aegean Region and the Municipality of Naxos.

Speaking to the Athenian – Macedonian News Agency, the CEO of the Laguna Coast Foundation, Antonis Pittaras, underlined that “the Laguna Coast Foundation in collaboration with AMAZON WEB SERCVICES is coming to transform the first Smart Island, into a sustainable oasis, with a zero footprint, in the context of of climate neutrality, with the aim of reducing by 25% the energy footprint of 5 Naxian main agricultural products through precision agriculture applications by 2025”.

As he said, “I see more clearly than ever that our planet has now exceeded its limits and we are facing an unprecedented climate crisis. Our generation has a responsibility to take action. I am very proud because the Laguna Coast Foundation’s “sustainability agenda” is the field of my research thesis and its implementation is being done in-situ.”

The goal of the project is the development and practical implementation of “modern, innovative tools and technologies concerning the transition from “Conventional” to “Smart” agriculture.

“The transition will take place in two main directions: the rational management of irrigation water and the more effective use of plant protection products” told APE-MPE the Professor of the University of Patras and Director of the Plant Production Laboratory, Angelos Patakas.

According to him, these two directions will “contribute to ensuring the sustainability of agricultural production and the production of high quality products in combination with the minimization of pesticide residues and the environmental footprint of crops”.

This new production approach, which uses cutting-edge technologies in the fields of sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), will be applied in the first stage to potato cultivation – which is one of the most important crops on the island of Naxos with excellent quality produced products which bear the indication of protected designation of origin (PDO) – and then it will be extended to other important crops of the island.

What will the benefits be?

The project, which is in practice a “living laboratory” (Living Lab) for testing, evaluating, developing and ultimately highlighting and applying new cutting-edge technologies in the agricultural sector for the benefit of producers and the environment, is expected to be a pilot for the subsequent expansion and application of and in the rest of the country.

Among other things, the expected benefits from the implementation of the project are the development of a reliable and experimentally documented methodology for the precise determination of the irrigation needs of plants and the time of application of irrigation and plant protection in order to achieve significant savings of water and pesticides, as well as the creation of a digital platform of evaluated predictive plant protection and irrigation models adapted to the particularities of the island of Naxos.

In addition, software will be created to monitor and provide producers, in real time, with instructions-advice for the execution of the main agronomic tasks, while at the same time production costs will be reduced, while increasing the competitiveness of the agricultural products produced.

Crops will become more environmentally friendly since the environmental footprint will be reduced, which will also contribute to a more effective response to the effects of climate change.

Finally, both the health of the consumer and the ecosystem will be protected while at the same time certified agricultural products will be produced.