Biobest brings expertise to Inagro’s new state-of-the-art research facility

10/05/2021 - The first young plants are due to arrive this summer at Inagro's new state-of-the-art research facility, the rooftop greenhouse - Agrotopia. Biobest is poised to take care of the biological control strategies and pollination requirements.

With 6000 m² of cultivation area, Agrotopia offers space for suppliers, educational institutions, governments, growers and technology companies to carry out research and collaborate in a bid to develop and improve technologies; from the initial idea, right through to validation and market introduction.

Hydroponics and vertical farming

Biobest advisor, Eline Braet, is looking forward to being part of this innovative project. "The Living Lab comprises 13 compartments for the research and demonstration of cultivated leafy and fruiting vegetables," she explains. "All cultivation will be soilless and employ the latest ebb and flow systems, NFT in gutters or DFT cultivation on floats.
“The facility even includes a special greenhouse for conducting experiments with high vertical cultivation systems.”  

Total package

Together with her Biobest colleague, Bart Elseviers, Eline will be responsible for the pollination and biological control programmes in the cucumber, tomato and leafy salad crops.
"We are here to provide support to the Agrotopia cultivation experts,” she explains. “The projects will benefit from having research environments that are as realistic as possible, ones in which pests are controlled using natural plant protection products. Biobest will bring experience of scouting and knowledge of the various product groups to the project."

Agrotopia Agrotopia

Unique location

The location of the high-tech research facilities is unusual and special. "The greenhouse is being built on the crate shed of the REO Auction building in Roeselare (Belgium),” explains Eline. “Eight metres above the ground and close to a major road - I am curious to see if this will affect the development of the pests and biology."

Sharing knowledge

Besides the Living Lab, Agrotopia also has a dedicated exhibition area. "This will be utilised for knowledge exchange and demonstrations by horticultural suppliers and other partners,” says Eline. “I plan to go there regularly to keep up to date with the latest developments in commercial horticulture. Working together, we can raise professional horticulture to an even higher level.
“All in all, Agrotopia comprises a practical environment where current and future challenges facing glasshouse and urban horticulture can be explored in a bid to find workable solutions.”

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