Pioneers in robotics and automation will have an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the US fruit and vegetable producers as part of an initiative between Agri-TechE and Western Growers Association (WGA).
The Memorandum of Agreement has been signed by Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-TechE, and Dennis Donohue, Director of Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT), and the first initiative to look at innovation in field harvest automation is to be the first of a series as the relationship develops.
Members of Western Growers are family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico, together providing over half the USA’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce.
Dennis Donohue comments: “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.”
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.