What Happened in Sustainable Agriculture in August 2023?

Jana Sedlackova

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August brought an array of exciting developments in the agritech world that’s set to change the way we farm. From sustainable practices to international partnerships and groundbreaking innovations, the agritech landscape is evolving rapidly, offering new solutions to the challenges facing agriculture today.

Let’s jump right into the highlights from last month!

Sustainable and regenerative farming

Investment and funding

  • Fieldwork Robotics, the team behind an advanced AI-powered robot designed to pick delicate fruits like berries, hit the jackpot in August. They scored £1.5 million in funding from Elbow Beach Capital, with a hand from Frontier IP and their existing backers. Their smart robot, named Alpha, isn’t just a cool gadget – it’s a game-changer. It can pick fruits autonomously and efficiently, which not only promises to transform how we farm but also tackles the ongoing challenge of seasonal labour shortages due to global issues like politics and economics.
  • The Belgian agtech startup, Aphea Bio, struck gold in August by securing a substantial €70 million in investments. This financial boost will empower the company to not only advance its research and development in biological solutions but also to expand its product launches. Notably, this initiative is supported by the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, underscoring its dedication to fostering a healthier and more resilient food system transition.
  • As the global plant-based protein market is expected to keep growing for the rest of this year, Israeli molecular farming startup has raised $1.75 million funding to expand its proprietary method for growing proteins from potatoes, the world’s most extensively farmed non-cereal food crop. With this investment, the company aims to create a lab, form an R&D team, conduct research, and complete a two-year R&D plan, including achieving important milestones like developing operational egg protein samples.

International expansion and partnerships

  • CubicFarm Systems Corp., a Canadian agtech company, has teamed up with a German company called Seehof Agrar GmBH to sell HydroGreen’s livestock feed equipment in Europe, the Middle East, and some countries in Asia Pacific. This is because there is a growing demand for sustainable and efficient livestock feed solutions in these regions, and it is part of CubicFarm and HydroGreen’s plan to sell their products in markets where the government provides financial assistance to farmers.

Recognising women in agribusiness

  • The Demeter Award of Excellence, inspired by the ancient Greek goddess of harvest, Demeter, celebrates the remarkable contributions of women in the agribusiness sector. To earn this prestigious recognition, recipients must possess a minimum of a decade’s experience in agriculture or the food industry, showcase notable professional accomplishments, and serve as inspirational role models. Their impact goes beyond achievement; they are individuals who break down barriers, create opportunities, and embody the highest standards of professionalism.This year, the award pays tribute to three outstanding women: Dr. Tracie Egger from Bright Changes Leadership Consulting, Connie Herschbach from Novus Ag, and Christine Gould from Thought For Food.

Agricultural challenges and government responses

  • Chile’s President Gabriel Boric took decisive action in response to the severe impact of dangerous rains on isolated communities, resulting in at least three tragic fatalities. Recognising the gravity of the situation, the government declared a catastrophe, extending assistance to 100 municipalities. An allocation of $8.3 million was approved to repair damaged irrigation infrastructure and canal systems. Nevertheless, farmers are urging for further support, as estimates from both authorities and industry experts suggest that the losses incurred may surpass a staggering $1 billion.

Final thoughts

Overall, August was a positive month for the agritech industry, with a number of exciting developments taking place. As the industry continues to evolve, we can hopefully expect to see even more innovative solutions emerge in the coming months and years.

At Gibson Watts, we are confident in our ability to secure the best candidates whilst keeping up with the demands of this ever-evolving market. We have the credentials and expertise to advise and support your business and empower a future generation of agricultural workers.

If you would like to find out more, reach out to us today.

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