Kick-off SPIDAP Project: Digital Revolution in Sicilian Citrus Farming

Spoke 6 SPIDAP
SPIDAP revolutionizes Sicilian citrus farming through the integration of advanced technologies and artificial intelligence to optimize irrigation

In the context of the growing digitalization of the agricultural sector, two Sicilian companies, Agrigeos and Lualtek, have joined forces to launch the SPIDAP project - Development of a Digital Platform based on Artificial Intelligence for Precision Citrus Farming. This initiative, funded under the Southern Cascade Calls of Spoke 6 of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), represents a turning point in optimizing agricultural practices on the island.


Agrigeos, headquartered in Acireale, and Lualtek from Comiso, have taken the initiative to concretely address the challenges faced by Sicilian citrus farmers, who must deal with a warm-arid environment and the consequent need to manage water resources precisely.


The SPIDAP project stands out for its innovative approach, based on the use of advanced technologies and the integration of artificial intelligence systems to optimize irrigation and improve agricultural yields. The collaboration between Agrigeos and Lualtek is also supported by the Institute of Materials for Electronics and Magnetism (IMEM) of CNR in Parma, providing consultancy and research.


The Kick-off meeting of SPIDAP was held in Acireale, at the operational headquarters of Agrigeos, highlighting the importance of involving technical figures from both companies in the project.


At the heart of the SPIDAP project lies the implementation of a decision support system that allows farmers to accurately monitor the water needs of citrus plants. This system is based on advanced sensor technologies developed by Lualtek and utilizes data obtained through the Plantarray platform for plant phenotyping and the Bioristor sensor for real-time monitoring of water requirements.


Plantarray, developed by the Israeli startup Plant Di-tech and adopted by Agrigeos, enables the collection of plant physiological data in response to changing environmental conditions, while the Bioristor sensor, developed by IMEM-CNR in Parma, continuously monitors plant water requirements.


According to Salvatore Nicolosi, administrator of Agrigeos, this collaboration between Sicilian SMEs is of great value and could have significant implications for society as a whole. Marco Acciai, scientific manager of the project, emphasizes that SPIDAP aims to improve the efficiency of irrigation water use, ensuring abundant and high-quality agricultural production. Luca Occhipinti, founder of Lualtek and project coordinator, highlights the importance of predictive models in agriculture and the crucial role that the SPIDAP project will play in innovating the agricultural sector. Michela Janni, researcher at CNR-IMEM, underlines the fundamental contribution of the Bioristor sensor in refining the decision support system of SPIDAP, improving the efficiency of water resource use, and promoting sustainability.


Agrigeos and Lualtek, respectively a specialized testing center and an innovative startup, embody the commitment and determination of Sicilian companies to promote innovation in the agricultural sector. The SPIDAP project represents a significant step towards smarter and more sustainable management of agricultural resources, offering concrete solutions to the environmental and economic challenges faced by Sicilian citrus farming.