May 2023

Fribourg’s agri-food strategy proves to be an effective catalyst

Image of the Yumane team

Three Fribourg State Councillors recently presented the early results of the Canton’s economic development strategy for the agri-food sector. Over the last year, an interdisciplinary team has developed a project for each of the Strategy’s three flagship programmes. The results now are set to pave the way for new, sustainable economic activities in this booming sector.

Three flagship projects

Over the last year, Valley partner Cluster Food & Nutrition has been working to deliver Fribourg’s new strategy for the development of its agri-food sector, powered by a CHF 1 million budget. Throughout 2022, three interdisciplinary teams worked in close collaboration with leading local and regional companies to develop a project relating to each of the strategy’s three priority areas:

Project 1: Optimized nitrogen fertilization 
This project focused on optimizing fertilizer quantities by using data analysis to increase yields and reduce environmental impact. Several methods were tested and by using drones equipped with multispectral cameras, the project was able to gather a large amount of data that confirms that these methods were more efficient than traditional approaches.

Project 2: Proteins and additives for a circular economy
This project aimed to develop circular and sustainable models by finding new ways to use local by-products, in particular whey. Project partners developed a technique that enables the production of high value-added, nutritionally beneficial ingredients.

Project 3: Food & Farm Living Lab 
This project was designed to actively enable consumers and citizens to drive a more efficient and sustainable food system. Over 500 individuals took part in seven consumer tests conducted throughout 2022 in collaboration with regional companies. This led to the development of targeted methodological tools to rapidly test new products, concepts, or business models. 

Linking practical knowledge with scientific expertise

Commenting on the projects, the President of the Cantonal Government and Minister of Institutions, Agriculture and Forestry, Mr. Didier Castella, stated: “The development of the Grangeneuve-Posieux campus and the AgriCo site in St-Aubin make it possible for Fribourg to support the entire Swiss agri-food sector both in the area of production, as well as in research and training.”

Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs, Ms. Sylvie Bonvin-Sansonnens added: “This strategy provides a real opportunity to link practical knowledge with the expertise of scientific research in order to create a more sustainable and efficient agri-food sector in the future,” while the Minister of Economic Affairs and Vocational Training, Mr. Olivier Curty, remarked that the initial results “are very encouraging and show that thanks to the investments made in recent years, the Canton of Fribourg now has both the tools and the skills needed to become the Swiss leader in this sector.”  

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