September 24, 2018
SPACE 2018 addresses French farmers' welfare, competitiveness
Entering its 32nd edition this year, SPACE continues to cement its reputation as a renowned livestock show held in Rennes, France.
At the Parc Expo Rennes Aéroport on September 11-14, the event saw an estimated 100,000 visitors, and 1,410 exhibitors from France and 41 other countries. Speaking to eFeedLink, Anne Marie Quemener, SPACE's exhibition manager, attributed the show's success to its location in the western region of France, one of Europe's main livestock production hubs, where "we have many dairy, beef, pork and poultry producers."
"SPACE has a lot of technologies that... could make for a more interesting and positive experience for international visitors," she remarked.
In addition to featuring a range of technology exhibits and conferences, the event sought to address the welfare and competitiveness of French farmers. On SPACE's opening day, Stéphane Travert, the French Minister of Agriculture, was invited to hear the challenges of farmers, said Marcel Daniel, president of SPACE. He added that there is a need to highlight the declining competitiveness of French stock raising, as France is "losing out commercially, in both "wealth and jobs."
While the minister's visit did little to assuage farmers' doubts about the government's support, they were at SPACE seeking for "practical solutions," SPACE organisers stated. They described visitors as seizing the moment by responding swiftly to "changing markets and social expectations," despite market uncertainties.
Bearing "Innovation for the improvement of working conditions" as its theme, SPACE 2018 displayed new technologies which could "help farmers achieve a better life," Quemener said.
The theme was conveyed through the "Espace for the future" presentation, where innovations, that could ease the rigours of farming, were revealed.
In one demonstration, a computer programme identified points of excessive physical stress during pigs handling. This data, which was recorded by motion-capturing a demonstrator, would help improve the way a pig farmer physically operates.
Further validating such solutions was the annual Innov'Space show, with its awards being presented to 39 new products and services.
Meanwhile, the strength of French farming was emphasised by SPACE's farm tours and cattle competitions.
The farm tours allowed visitors to witness onsite the sustainability and high standards of French farms. In one such visit, Stephane Dahirel, a poultry farmer and president of a livestock producers union, explained the operations of his hatchery, including sourcing his own wood to steam-power temperature control and chlorinating drinking water, so as to reduce the use of antibiotics on chicks.
The animal competitions are a yearly affair to boast the genetics of French dairy/beef cattle and their appeal to both local and overseas markets.
"When SPACE started, it began with these (cattle) presentations," Quemener said.
"Cattle is also very important in this area (of France) - it's one of the things we can highlight to prove the performance of this region's livestock sector and its responses to the international market," she added.
SPACE will return on September 10-13, 2019.