FDCEA Advancing research and education for the CEA and Plant Factory industry – Part 1

By David Proenza


Following up on my prior post to highlight my annual trip to Europe and Asia, I will divide the Post in three sections. Each Post will be 7-10 days apart and will cover the trip to Holland, Taiwan, Japan, China, Belgium and Geneva. This years trip I wore two hats, one as the President of the Foundation for the Development of Controlled Environment Agriculture (FDCEA) and as CEO of Urban Farms. The first part of the trip was mainly for the Foundation as part of a government delegation, as well as some Urban Farms business, and the second part of the trip was all Urban Farms.

The Foundation for the Development of Controlled Environment Agriculture (FDCEA), has been busy on many fronts. From organizing the first days educational event for the Indoor Ag–Con Asia, in Singapore, scheduled for 18-19 January 2016, organizing the first CEA and Plant Factory (Vertical Farm) event in Chile scheduled for September 2016, and initiating and structuring the development in Panama of a world class Research and Development and Training Center, (named; International Center for Production in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CIPAC, in spanish)) and starting the first quarter 2016, the FDCEA will start promoting the Second International Conference on Controlled Environment Agriculture (ICCEA 2017) to be held in Panama. We already have a lot of interest from companies wanting to exhibit.

In this Post I will highlight a recent trip organized by FDCEA to three countries with a delegation composed of Panamanian Government officials and other individuals. The delegation was composed of Dr. Victor Sánchez, Senacyt (Science and technology Institute), Mauricio Revés, Latin American Development Bank, Dr. Willy Del Valle, Ambassador and David Proenza, President of the FDCEA. The delegation was representing the Committee that was formed to develop the CIPAC. The main purpose of this trip was to gain knowledge and ideas to set up the CIPAC in Panama, establish alliances and knowledge transfer between Universities and private companies.

Our first leg took us to Holland. We met with Dr. Leo Marcelis of Wageningen University, Rijk Zwaan, Plant Lab, Phillips City Farming, Priva and Total Produce. We had the opportunity to see first-hand the advancements in research in plant cultivation under Led lights, new products developed for specific use in Plant Factory and gained interest from these distinguished companies to participate in the CIPAC.



As the CEO of Urban Farms, I gained valuable knowledge with my visits to these distinguished organizations. I gained valuable knowledge in advancements in seed breeding, new LED lights, advanced hydroponic equipment, advanced research into plant production, market placement and consumer trends.

Check back in a week to read about our visit to Taiwan and Japan. I saw advancements using robotics to automate the entire production process, research in tomato, asparagus, carrots, bell peppers, strawberries, blue berries and other products under LED Lights.

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