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2 November, 2020 - 13:53 By Tony Quested

The thrilling fields as Cambridge AgriTech woos the world

Outfield Drone in flight over Orchards, Kent, late spring 2019

Organisations with roots in the US, South Korea and The Netherlands are progressing collaborations with AgriTechE in Cambridge to address productivity and sustainability challenges.

Oost Netherlands, which represents the Wageningen UR-Foodvalley Region of The Netherlands, has become a member of AgriTechE, which brings together farmers with technologists and researchers within an innovation hub. 

Oost is bringing a delegation to the organisation’s REAP conference on November 10 and providing support for UK AgriTech companies wanting to expand in Europe. 

Another major engager is Western Growers, which is responsible for over half of US fruit and vegetable production. The Netherlands and South Korea’s Chonnam National University is another collaborator.

The Chonnam province and Gwangju city hub represents the core of agriculture production in South Korea and provides a launchpad for Asia for Cambridge and East of England agribusiness. 

AgriTechE also reports a continuing relationship with Missouri Partnership on the East Coast of the US – heartland for 50 per cent of US crop and livestock production.

Remco Lucassen, Director 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), both say 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.

Remco says: “Businesses want to work with companies in the UK and we see participation in REAP as a good platform for this. With so much uncertainty at the current time it is even more important to build up personal links and trust for future cooperation.”

Dr Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-TechE and her team will be facilitating REAP meetings. She says: “Oost Netherlands is home to many innovative agrifood companies, offering mutually beneficial opportunities. 

“By building links with centres of Agri-tech innovation worldwide we are creating mutually beneficial relationships. For early stage technology companies overseas expansion can be time-consuming and risky. 

“By creating an environment where insiders introduce them to the ecosystem reduces these barriers. Our farmer members can also benefit from sharing best-practice and export opportunities.” 

Dutch companies coming to REAP include: Agriprogress which offers support for sales channel development through its existing networks in the EU and Eastern Europe; AgriWatch and GeoInfoSolutions, offering geospatial services for Smart Farming, Amstel Agro, developing novel fertilisers based on soluble silicon, Huizing Harvest a company offering technical outsourcing in the agricultural industry and Kubota who are looking for investment opportunities and identifying agricultural challenges which require innovations.

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