Categories
Agriculture Policy

Agri-Food Pilot to ensure Food Security in Canada

The Agri-Food Pilot is conceptualised to build resilience in the agriculture sector, which sees thousands of jobs go unfilled each year. It helps address the labour needs of the Canadian agri-food sector. The pilot provides a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations. It will run until May 2023.

The three-year pilot is an experiment by definition and that the federal government is open to ways they can improve the program and “ensure that it’s meeting the objective of recognizing those contributions — the value of the work on farms when it comes to food security — by providing a clear way [migrant workers] can establish permanent residency in Canada.”

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the pilot will accept 2,750 applications annually. Eligible industries and eligible jobs under the pilot are listed below:

  • Meat product manufacturing: Retail butchers, Industrial butchers, Food processing labourers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production: General farm workers, Harvesting labourers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • Animal production, excluding aquaculture: General farm workers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers

Foreign workers fill an important role in the Canadian agriculture sector, where 59,000 positions went unfilled last year, according to a study from the Senate committee on agriculture and forestry. The report found that the number of unfilled positions could hit 114,000 by 2025.

Read more at iPolitics

Categories
AgTech Investments

South African agri-tech startup Aerobotics raised US$5.5 million in funding from Naspers Foundry

Cape Town-based Aerobotics, uses aerial imagery from drones and satellites, and blends them with machine learning algorithms. This helps in early problem detection and offer personalised solutions to tree and wine farmers and optimise crop performance. The startup’s cloud-based application Aeroview provides farmers with insights, scout mapping and other tools to mitigate damage to tree and vine crops from pest and disease.

Food security was of paramount importance, and the Aerobotics platform provided a positive contribution towards helping to sustain it. This importance has been highlighted further in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with agriculture considered globally as critical infrastructure

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, South Africa CEO at Naspers

Aerobotics uses drone flights to track tree health and size, using multispectral, high resolution drone imagery. This helps in identification of areas needing attention by a real time comparison with historical satellite health data, and make data driven decisions on the farm, using AI-based analytics platform. Aerobotics provide tools to make actionable decisions on the farm for

  • Orchard Management
  • Problem Tree Identification
  • Pest and Disease Management
  • Yield Management

Aerobotics has demonstrated success in the ability to collect and analyse tree and fruit-level information, which are critical to the agricultural industry. The services are very relevant to commercial-scale farmers and crop insurance companies who require accurate tree-level information about their clients.

Read more at Disrupt Africa.

Categories
AgTech FoodTech

Singapore Food Bowl aims to help regional agri-food tech startups

GROW’s Singapore Food Bowl program aims to help regional agri-food tech startups fast track their growth trajectory and commercialise novel technologies specifically relevant to Singapore’s food security agenda. The 12-week virtual accelerator allows for the local ecosystem to make a change together, by forming a cohort of local and regional startups to address the challenges and opportunities in food security and supply chain highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore Food Bowl is targeting startups focused on technologies to accelerate & improve the production of Proteins (animal & alternative) and Leafy greens (controlled environment agriculture) as well as solutions that address Food Waste, Sustainable Packaging and Digital Supply Chains.

If you’re developing technologies that can materially improve productivity in the areas aligned with Singapore’s 30×30 food pillars, namely protein production and leafy greens,

Startups incorporated in Singapore or based in Asia-Pacific and having a minimum viable product (Pre-Seed to Seed stage in terms of funding) are eligible to apply for the accelerator program. Applications for the program can be filled by up to 7th of June.

Read more at Grow

Categories
Food Security Investments

ADQ’s strategy to support the UAE’s agri-food ecosystem

Abu Dhabi’s, ADQ has agreed to acquire a 50 per cent stake to buy 50% stake in agri-food specialist Al Dahra Holding. Al Dahra is a prominent multinational leader in agribusiness, specializing in the cultivation, production and trading of animal feed and essential food commodities and end-to-end supply chain management. Serving a large customer base spanning the Government and Commercial sectors, Al Dahra has a widespread geographic footprint, with a workforce of 5,000 employees, operating in over 20 countries and catering to more than 45 markets, with a leading position in Asia and the Middle East.

“Food and agri-business is of importance to ADQ’s strategy because it is high growth and important for Abu Dhabi’s socio-economic agenda. Since 1995 when Al Dahra was founded in the UAE, it has grown into a global food and animal feed company and is a pillar of Abu Dhabi and our country’s food security mandate. Al Dahra will complement our existing efforts to extend ADQ’s reach in food production and distribution. With our investment, Al Dahra will be well positioned to further expand its reach and footprint while enabling Abu Dhabi to reach its goals of continuing to diversify its food sources and growing into a regional food hub.”

H.E. Mohammed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Chief Executive Officer of ADQ

Al Dahra owns and operates 15 state-of-the-art forage processing and baling facilities globally. The company also cultivates different types of fresh produce, including a wide range of fruits and vegetables, as well as grains with infrastructure to facilitate grains’ trading. Al Dahra operates three rice mills with capacity to supply 500,000 tons annually in India, Pakistan and the UAE.

The company also owns shares in three flour mills in Greece and Bulgaria that have the capacity to supply 500,000 tons annually. Additionally, the company has an olive oil production plant in Morocco with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tons, and dairy farms in Serbia and the UAE with 20,000 cows and a production capacity of 80 million liters of milk annually.

Read more at Al Dahra

Categories
Agriculture Strategy

Farmers to produce what the market wants

For the first time, the state government is going to regulate the production of crops in India. Farmers in Telangana are going to produce what the market wants. It’s a big move in the right direction and will set ground for a new beginning of Demand Driven Agriculture. This Kharif season, the farmers will be asked to grow paddy on 50 lakh acres (including the Telangana Sona variety on 10 lakh acres of land), cotton on 50 lakh acres and red gram on 10 lakh acres. Farm lands nearer to urban areas will grow vegetables and horticultural crops to tap the demand.

“One should cultivate crops which sell well. They don’t buy whatever you produce”.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao

Asking the farmers to strictly adhere to the cropping pattern, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has said that government sops such as ‘Rythu Bandhu’ (₹5,000 each for farmers in both the seasons for every acre they own) will be stopped to the farmers who don’t conform to the cropping plan.

Farmers base next years supply purely on the previous price and assume that next year’s price will be the same as last year (adaptive expectations). These fluctuations in price may cause some farmers to go out of business.

Limitations of Cobweb theory

As the government is attempting to go beyond advisory and extension roles, it will revamp the Department of Agriculture to take up additional responsibilities. The government will also bring in necessary amendments to the Seed Act.

Read more at The Hindu Business Line

Categories
Food Loss/Waste

National Environment Agency, Singapore, launched a S$1.76 million food waste fund

The National Environment Agency (NEA) launched a S$1.76 million (US$1.26 million) food waste fund as part of its efforts to tackle climate change. The fund aims to help organisations subsidise the cost of installing food waste treatments solutions. Capped at S$100,000 (US$70,000) per applicant, it will cover the capital cost of waste treatment systems, accompanying equipment like bin lifters and any improvements to existing infrastructure. Companies, non-profit organisations and condominium management bodies can apply for it between May 18, 2020 and Feb 28, 2021.

Food waste accounts for about 10 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore and its recycling rate remains relatively low.

Singapore’s inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan maps out Singapore’s key strategies to build a sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-resilient nation. This includes adopting a circular economy approach to waste and resource management practices, and shifting towards more sustainable production and consumption.

Zero Waste Masterplan aims to reduce waste sent to landfill each day by 30 percent by 2030. It also outlines plans to achieve a 70 per cent overall recycling rate by 2030. The plan sets targets for food waste, electronic waste, packaging waste and research and development.

Read more at CNA

Categories
Biotech

Biotalys NV developed biofungicide, with potential to address increasing fungicide resistance

Biotalys NV, a food and crop protection company, announced the results from more than 100 field trials of its innovative biofungicide, BioFun-1, which is on track to launch in the United States in 2022. BioFun-1, an eco-friendly and innovative biofungicide, provides growers with a novel mode of action to address increasing fungicide resistance, with potential for pre- and post-harvest applications. Biotalys aims to help farmers protect yields and reduce food waste by both preventing crop loss and extending post-harvest protection with sustainable and safe products.

In 2018, Biotalys demonstrated that BioFun-1 provided competitive and consistent protection against Botrytis cinerea when compared with commercial chemical fungicides and outperforming biologicals, in multiple crops and regions. Botrytis cinerea and powdery mildew, considerably impact yields and quality in a wide range of fruit and vegetables crops, and are responsible for significant food losses.

Biofungicide provides growers with a reliable, novel mode of action product to maximize the yield of high-quality fruits and vegetables. The extended shelf-life of tasty, appealing fruits and vegetables with substantially reduced residue levels adds significant value by addressing the needs of both consumers and growers, reducing food waste and securing global export.

About Biotalys: It is a rapidly growing and transformative Food and Crop Protection company developing a new generation of protein-based biocontrol solutions, shaping the future of sustainable and safe food supply. It was founded in 2013 as a spin-off from the VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and its headquarters are located in the vibrant biotech cluster in Ghent, Belgium.

Read more at GlobeNewswire

Categories
AgTech Greenhouse

Hotraco Horti completed one of the largest agricultural greenhouse project

Hotraco Horti completed a large automation project in Egypt covering more than 1200 ha in 2020. It is seen as one of the largest agricultural greenhouse projects in the world. Hotraco Horti supplied complete automation for greenhouse climate and irrigation. The greenhouse project is an initiative of the National Company for Protective Cultivations (NCPC) and is located on an old naval base near the coast of Alexandria.

With this mega-project, consisting of 126 clusters of 6, 8, 10 or 12 horticultural greenhouses, each covering more than a hectare, Egypt is taking major steps towards self-sufficiency in food production and food security. For Hotraco Horti, the project was considered incredibly challenging and ground-breaking, in part due to its size and the tight schedule.

Hotraco Horti core business activity is in the regulation, control and monitoring of all greenhouse processes. They manage all major processes ranging from ventilation and climate control, irrigation- and water regulation, to management and energy distribution.

Read more at Hotraco Horti

Categories
AgTech Protein

The Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta to Invest $1.25m

Radicle Growth, an acceleration fund, and Syngenta, a leading agriculture company announced the launch of The Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta to support the future of protein. Innovative protein sources are increasingly important for a growing population. Companies with novel solutions in protein industry like new protein sources or protein conversion technologies can apply. A $1m investment will be made in the Challenge winner and a $250k investment to the second-place winner. Applications are open through May 29, 2020.

Radicle Growth selects innovative ag and food tech start-ups for investment, ensuring that powerful, disruptive technologies reach their full potential, while Syngenta is a leading science-based agtech company with world-class science to protect crops and improve seeds.

Read more at BusinessWire

Categories
AgTech Food Loss/Waste

World Changing Ideas 2020 included Full Harvest and Food Rescue Hero

Full Harvest is the winner of the food category in Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards. It’s a B2B company, with a tech platform that allows buyers—online retailers, cafes and juice bars, and sellers—farmers—to connect over the imperfect foods that are “surplus” or “ugly”. Full Harvest’s method has increased some farms’ yields by up to 30%, and their profit per acre by up to 12%.

According to the EPA’s estimates, every year, 20 billion pounds of produce goes to waste because of cosmetic reasons, while 41 million people in the U.S. struggle with hunger.

Food Rescue Hero is the winner of the apps category in Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards. It’s the app that facilitates the process of connecting food to the people who need it. Its work has been powered by volunteers, who deliver food from restaurants and grocery stores to various charities and NGOs that serve people facing food insecurity, operating on the principle that everyone has a right to healthy food.