Yesterday, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter opened the 80th Olma trade fair. In her original and at times self-ironic speech, the Finance Minister made a literary digression into the importance of the pig and spun a narrative ranging from the supportive role played by the Olma piglet and the pig that plays a major role in her job as Finance Minister – the piggy bank – to the savings cuts earmarked for federal finances, from which even the agricultural budget is not to escape unscathed. She went on to state: “It is getting more crowded at the feeding trough.”
But what does that mean for agriculture?
“Swiss agriculture has every reason to be confident,” the Federal Councillor went on in an encouraging tone to the guests present. “I am convinced that its innovative capacity will enable it to seize future opportunities.”
Innovations for food and agriculture
What the Federal Councillor meant by this was revealed during the traditional opening tour. On her walk through the exhibition halls, she also made a stop at the ETH Zurich booth. Its exhibit is entitled “Where the future begins – research for sustainable agriculture” and focusses on start-ups that are making Swiss food and agriculture more sustainable.
“Research and innovation play an important role in future agriculture”, Keller-Sutter stated. “ETH Zurich is making an important contribution in this respect.”
Christian Wolfrum, Vice President for Research at ETH Zurich since the beginning of the year, welcomed the Federal Councillor to the ETH booth and showed her the Start-up Tower at the centre of the exhibition.
From research to business idea
Five spin-offs and start-ups from the university are presenting their ideas at the circular ETH booth. They focus on food made from alternative proteins and on digital techniques that reduce the use of pesticides and fertilisers.
Their business fields extend from the field to the plate: