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16 January, 2019 - 11:22 By Jamie Quested

China courts UK AgriTech expertise

East of England AgriTech companies have been handed a potentially lucrative opportunity to help the Chinese government transform the country’s agricultural sector.

As part of Innovate UK’s Global Business Innovation Programme, Enterprise Europe Network is organising a mission to China to help AgriTech businesses  identify partners for international collaboration.

The aim of the mission is to develop strong international partnerships for future collaboration and commercialisation.

China recognises the need to accelerate the modernisation of its agriculture sector, improve productivity and produce safer foods by integrating smart technologies into its food production. 

Aware of the UK’s AgriTech capabilities the Chinese government is providing major investment to stimulate UK-China collaboration to overcome shared challenges and drive the adoption of new technologies and innovative approaches.

Agriculture accounts for only nine per cent of Chinese GDP yet the industry employs over 320 million people. The nation’s expanding cities are consuming farmland at breakneck speed, soil health is an issue and the farm workforce is ageing. 

China has to feed one fifth of the world’s population from only one tenth of its arable land. The challenge of feeding a growing nation has long been a major concern.

China estimates that by 2030, when its population is expected to level off at around 1.5 billion, it will need to produce an additional 100 million tons of food each year.

The programme includes a two day pre visit briefing in the UK to prepare the delegation and give insight into the requirements for successfully accessing the Chinese market.

Delegates will have the opportunity to access major research facilities and agricultural centres and meet key industry stakeholders including researchers, government policymakers and Chinese businesses.

The mission departs the UK on March 9 and returns on March 16. For eligible companies joining the Global Business Innovation Programme, flights, six nights accommodation (one representative per company) and subsistence will be funded. 

On acceptance onto the programme, a commitment fee of £500 will be required from the company, which will be refunded on completion of the programme and implementation of an agreed follow up action plan.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 27th January 2019 at 5pm. For details visit http://bit.ly/agritechGBIP

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