Jan 10, 2023
Italy’s apple-focuse show rich on technology

Apple growers knew they were in for something special as they entered Interpoma 2022 and were greeted with drones picking apples. 

The Nov. 17-19 international apple-centric show was in Bolzano in northern Italy, near the world-famous South Tyrol fruit growing region. More than 16,000 visitors from more than 70 countries attended the 12th edition of the show. A group of apple growers participating in the International Fruit Tree Association Italy Study Tour also attended.

Zingy, a club variety. Photo: Matt McCallum

For the expert participants from applied research, producers, sellers and other apple ecosystem stakeholders, an increasing labor shortage along with climate change were identified as the key challenges pressing the global apple industry. 

The trade show featured 490 exhibitors displaying equipment technology designed to reduce labor and limit agrochemical use, including:

  • Autonomous vehicle platforms to spray, prune and mow orchards, 
  • Labor platforms adaptable to pruning, training trees and assisting pickers in harvesting, 
  • Mechanical machines to manage pesticide-free row middles, and
  • Recyclable apple packaging using cardboard with high-impact graphics.
Yello, one of dozens of club apples on display at Interpoma.

The international Interpoma Congress provided educational sessions and offered an insider perspective into the developments in the U.S. apple sector. The show featured presentations by the world’s leading manufacturers of apple harvesting robots. 

Exclusive high-tech solutions designed to combat labor shortages employing robots for automated harvesting were presented at the show. These will undergo further development in the coming seasons before they are ready to be commercially launched. Climate change was another key area covered during Interpoma 2022.

The Interpoma Award for the most innovative technology was presented to the Polish company InVentia for its Agreus system. The technology helps growers manage irrigation decisions based on soil water availability and climatic parameters using solar-powered sensors, wireless transmission and an app customized to growers’ needs. 

Recyclable apple containers.

Guided Interpoma tours were fully booked and provided 500 international visitors an opportunity to learn more about South Tyrol’s modern fruit growing and selling operations. 

A new addition to this year’s show was the Interpoma Variety Garden, which invited visitors to embark on a colorful journey through the history of variety management and explore the world’s first exhibition of all 60 known club apple varieties.

The next Interpoma will again be in Bolzano in November 2024. Recordings of both days of the education sessions are available on the trade show’s website: www.fierabolzano.it/en/interpoma.

— Matt McCallum


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