Agri-TechE forges international links to tackle global agri-food challenges

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Multiple new initiatives have been announced at Agri-Tech’s REAP 2020 conference.

The announcements are:

New partnership with Western Growers – the organisation represents family farmers across California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, who provide over half of America’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nut; it is partnering with Agri-TechE to accelerate innovation in field harvest automation.

A new mission with the British Embassy Warsaw – farmers and agri-tech companies from a consortium of four countries – Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia – will meet Agri-TechE members.

Next stage in the relationship with Missouri agri-tech ecosystem – the heartland for 50 per cent of US crop and livestock production. New programme for 2020 announced in partnership with Agri-TechE.

Oost Netherlands joins Agri-TechE as members – Oost NL represents farmers, agri-tech companies and researchers keen to strengthen links with UK agri-tech innovation.

South Korea’s Chonnam National University – offers members of the Agri-TechE ecosystem a launchpad for Asia. Chonnam province and Gwangju city is the core of agriculture production for South Korea. 

Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of the Agri-TechE innovation hub, comments: “The theme for REAP 2020 is ‘From micro-scape to landscape – Innovating at the frontier’, acknowledging that small changes in the micro-scape can have big impacts on the landscape and vice versa. It is interactions on a microbial scale in soils that drive the carbon cycle and impact climate change.

“To achieve the global ambitions for agriculture, food production and land management, we need a much better understanding of how systems at these different scales operate and interact. We are delighted that this vision is shared by other agri-tech communities as this will create the global scale needed to make real change.”

Dennis Donohue, Director of Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT), agrees: “We have some big challenges facing us, such as extreme weather, need for harvesting automation, concerns about resistance to pesticides, and water shortages.

“We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel so we decided to find out what agri-tech is out there and to start a conversation. With Agri-TechE, we saw the potential to create a viable relationship that would accelerate the development of solutions, and ultimately, solve the issues our growers are facing.”

WGCIT is a premiere U.S.-based agtech incubator, and has partnered with Agri-TechE to accelerate innovation in field harvest automation. The partnership will focus on connecting farmers, scientists, academics, technologists and entrepreneurs in both the United States and United Kingdom to collaborate on shared strategic priorities—most notably, field harvest automation and food safety solutions.

The need for international collaboration is shared by Remco Lucassen, Director of Trade Development at Oost NL, and Michiel van Deursen, Projects Director of the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC, the “delivery partner” of this initiative), who say that there is a strong appetite among farmers and agri-tech companies and researchers from both Wageningen University & Research and Technical University Twente and ‘Foodvalley’ region of East Netherlands to build links that transcend the political discussions.

Dr Clarke concluded “We hope these exciting new initiatives we are announcing today will provide value to our members to access new market opportunities and gain new insights into best practice on farm. Connecting with best-in-class globally is the way to tackle the challenges facing agriculture and we are proud of our new partnerships.”

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