FEED Business Worldwide - October / November, 2011
SPACE 2011: 25 years of rewarding innovation
The 25th edition of SPACE attracted almost 109,000 visitors to its four-day show on September 13-16, including 10,045 international visitors from more than a hundred countries. SPACE 2011 focused primarily on innovations and new ideas that would help the agriculture industry, both in France and worldwide. The annual livestock show was held this year at the Rennes Exhibition Centre in Rennes, France, where 1,300 exhibits from 35 countries were displayed throughout the show's ten halls, spanning more than 60,000 square metres. 
France's minister of agriculture Bruno Le Maire opened the show, pledging to continue his support for the French agricultural industries. In particular, he promised that despite the current budgetary constraints in France, there would be no restrictions on the EUR20 million (US$27.7 million) earmarked for France's poultry industry for the next three years, to help producers modernise their buildings to meet EU requirements.
The organisers for SPACE 2011 used new means of transmitting fair events. Live coverage of the cattle competitions in the ring was also streamed to the web. The organic directory, first introduced in SPACE 2010, returned this year to assist organic farmers in locating exhibitors offering them the relevant products and services. A free "SPACE 2011" mobile app was made available for all visitors to access information on the event on their phones.
The Innov'Space awards were held at SPACE 2011. 54 products and services were awarded one to two stars for their contributions to new and innovative advances in farming techniques and working conditions. Of these, seven received a complimentary third star at the Exhibitor's Evening party, and presented with their prestigious "three-star" awards. The award-winners came from every sector of the livestock industry, and more than 20% improved working conditions and safety at work.
SPACE also hosted the 2011 Research and Development Platform, which highlighted the concept of "Ecologically Intensive Agriculture" (EIA). First created by agronomist and economist Michel Griffon in 2008, the Brittany Chamber of Agriculture and the Directors of SPACE selected the theme for this year's Platform, where it took a central position at SPACE, with Griffon as the guest of honour.
A short film, "Farmers piloting EIA", was displayed at the platform, and several farmers also gave presentations on their first-hand experiences implementing the ideas espoused in EIA.
The EIA Platform introduced an approach to maintaining levels of agricultural production to feed a growing world population, while reducing the impact on the environment by seeking alternatives to non-renewable resources and chemical inputs. The protection and restoration of the environment was also emphasized.
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