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Sarah Carr: Agri-Tech - Getting it right

The farming industry faces numerous challenges globally, nationally and very much locally. These challenges need to be met with the right amount of solutions – unfortunately a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to find the best solution.

Luckily, with so many people involved in the agri-food supply chain, such as farmers, agronomists, manufacturers, and consumers (the list could go on) there are many agri-tech solutions coming forward. However, companies trying to be innovative in agriculture have some barriers to overcome first.

 

One of the main barriers for agri-tech companies is a lack of patient capital. By this we mean that creating an agricultural solution takes time and is not a linear process, but there is a shortage of investors who are willing to wait around for the result.

 

There is also limited knowledge about agriculture within the investor circle, which makes pitching to them more difficult. There is certainly money available for some top global issues; therefore it is really important for agri-tech companies to position themselves in the best way to fit with these.

 

For example, a livestock management agri-tech company could actually position themselves as a climate change solution due to better practices resulting in fewer emissions. This could generate investment, which would lead to a better solution for farmers.

 

Something that is not always asked but most definitely should be is, “Do farmers really want this solution?” All too often a company thinks of a game-changing solution for farmers, only to find out later down the line that the problem they are trying to solve is not really something farmers need solving or would be willing to pay for.


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Farm491 believe it is essential for any agri-tech company to work closely with farmers to really understand their challenges to be able to create the best solutions for them.

 

By empowering farmers they can become more resilient to ever-changing, volatile issues, and also highlight the high standards we have within the UK farming industry.

 

Farm491 are hosting an event titled ‘AgriTech and the Future of British Farming’ on the April 2 in Cirencester -with the focus being ‘Farming and the Climate Conversation.’

 

The event aims to explore practical solutions for farmers to adopt climate resilient practices whilst aligning with profitability. The showcase will give the opportunity to meet agri-tech start-ups who are developing solutions in the space, as well as joining in some discussion groups to really understand what works best for farmers.

 

For more information you can visit farm491.com/events

 

  • Sarah Carr is an innovation specialist at Farm491
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