With the Agri-Food Innovation Days 2022 (AFID) taking place in Beirut last March on 22,23& 24, the TRANSDAIRY project took part in this unique event gathering stakeholders in the agri-food sector. Multiple activities were organized during the event to demonstrate research in the Dairy Value Chain, discuss trending topics in the sector, showcase innovative businesses, and connect them to buyers, experts, and potential investors.
Startup Village and Matchmaking sessions
Ten dairy businesses were selected to participate in the startup village of the Agri-Food Innovation Days (AFID) expo. Each with their own booth, the founders were able to display their products to the event’s 5000+ visitors, tell their story, explain their innovations, and give the visitors a taste of their products.
Following a needs assessment for each of the participating businesses, the Berytech team matched the startups with at least 3 potential investors, donors, experts, and buyers, with whom they had a dedicated session to discuss potential business partnerships.
The participating businesses were:
La Vallee Blanche: A place to connect with local villagers to buy fresh dairy products.
Fattoria del Sole: An artisanal factory of fresh Italian cheese producing more than 17 different kinds of Formaggio.
Emm el Khayrat: A family-owned business that produces a variety of preservative-free cheeses and dairy foods maintaining their authentic identity.
The Mountain Farm: High-quality cheese made in Lebanon reflecting the unique flavors of traditional cheese from all over the world.
Cyclone IT: A Tunisian blockchain traceability solution that traces and tracks each product to its origin as it travels through the supply chain.
Dry & Raw: A unique food boutique concept that provides premium natural and organic food products and produces artisanal EU, UK, and US cheeses using mostly free-range milk.
Skaff Dairy Farm: A dairy farm that provides the local market with quality dairy products produced with milk from their cows.
SmartLand: A barely sprouting fodder done through a fully-automated and protected room that provides sheep feeding all year long with a balanced and sufficient mixture.
GoBaladi: A new venture producing a range of conventional, certified organic goat dairy products made from local goat milk.
Hydrek: Turnkey solutions for home scale and large-scale precision farming projects offering a simple and affordable system that is easy to store and operate and is almost maintenance-free.
“Being part of AFID2022 was an amazing experience. I am so glad to have met all the participating dairy businesses as part of the Transdairy Project and excited for all the potential collaboration and business that will come after. Good luck to everyone!” says Marie Georges Hatem, Founder of Emm el Khayrat.
Demonstration of Research Results
Jean Claude Assaf and Joseph Matta are two dairy researchers who were selected to demonstrate the research results of their key-enabling technologies in the Dairy Value Chain and to engage with hundreds of stakeholders in this industry during AFID2022.
Jean Claude Assaf, a researcher at Saint Joseph University and a lecturer at the Lebanese University and Saint Joseph University, created a novel machine to detoxify milk from Aflatoxins which are toxic metabolites produced by different fungal species that present major public health problems. He used safe bio-adsorbents such as chitin, biofilms of lactic acid bacteria, or even treated shrimp shells to build this new prototype machine for mycotoxins detoxification. He explained the aim of his research and how it was conducted and introduced his machine to the public during which we saw live results.
Joseph Matta, a professor at Saint Joseph University, is studying new natural protective agents and Bio preservatives in dairy products. He is using essential oils and plant extracts as natural antimicrobial compounds as alternatives to chemical antimicrobials in dairy products, which in turn, increase both the shelf life and nutritional value of dairy products.
Round Table on the Impact of Technology Transfer in The Dairy Industry
Transdairy brought together three experts: Sandra Sarkis - Lebanon Softshore Cluster Manager and PhD candidate in Health & Sciences at USJ, Joelle Hajjar – Co-founder& Production manager at Go Baladi, and Salim Maalouf – Animal Production Expert at MoA and, as a moderator, Rodrigue El Balaa – Director at AVCDC Balamand University to discuss The Impact of Technology Transfer in The Dairy Industry.
The discussion held a value chain approach covering the three levels of Production, Processing, and Distribution. They identified the challenges faced by the dairy stakeholders, highlighted the actual solutions and opportunities identified in the private sector, and provided insights on current innovations and future ones that could be transferred and incorporated in hopes of supporting each of the stakeholders; all while looking at these topics from the 3 different perspectives mentioned earlier. The panel ended with a Q&A session and a live interaction with the audience.