Daniele Caceffo, Head of Agriculture at Generali Italia
What was your motivation for supporting and promoting the FoodSeed program? How do you believe this initiative can contribute to innovation and the growth and development of the food industry?
Born in 1896 to provide protection to landowners against fire and hail risks, Cattolica, a division of Generali Italia, boasts a well-established expertise in the agricultural sector. This experience, developed over the years through an Agriculture Line of Business comprising approximately 30 specialized professionals, including agricultural appraisers, agronomists, and veterinarians, has enabled us to offer tailored solutions and develop additional services for safeguarding agricultural businesses. Particularly with a focus on prevention. This offering helps us effectively address the needs of an industry currently facing critical challenges, from climate change to sustainability, through the utilization of new technologies.
In this context, it’s essential for us to engage with new digital entities and, within an open innovation framework, collaboratively explore new products and applications. Our decision to support FoodSeed aligns precisely with the objective of creating fresh opportunities for startups operating in the digital realm applied to agriculture. Our aim is to assist them in growing and becoming sustainable, enabling them to truly bring innovation to an industry that on its own constitutes a third of the national GDP.
What challenges do you think emerging startups in the Italian agri-food industry need to face now?
One of the phenomena most closely linked to the resilience of the agri-food sector is undoubtedly climate change. Global warming indeed impacts the entire supply chain, which can lead to consequences such as the unpredictability of seasonal weather, damaging entire harvests in certain years. Climate change also affects the agricultural products, necessitating significant adaptation of production to the new climate. The major challenge for new companies in the agri-food industry is therefore to develop fresh ideas, products, and solutions that assist agricultural entrepreneurs in coping, from a protective and preventive standpoint, with catastrophic events of this kind. These are, in fact, increasingly frequent occurrences that affect both the quantity and quality of production, directly impacting the business.