China and the UK Do Deal on Agri-Tech
Innovate UK has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government’s China Rural Technology Development Centre (CRTDC) to look into collaborations on agricultural technology, or ‘agri-tech’. We reported earlier that the UK could soon be exporing British beef to China, and now the two countries could be swapping agricultural technology.
Drone used in China for crop spraying [Photo: VCG]
Innovate UK is the government department that works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.
The agreement will see the UK share knowledge and skills for agriculture in areas including big data and precision, which traditionally people would not realise form part of the agricultural process.
During the week-long event, 55 representatives from British companies, universities and government made stronger ties with China to help share knowledge and skills in innovation.
The event ended in the signing of an MoU between Innovate UK and CRTDC in which both parties agreed to collaborate on big data and precision; intelligent agricultural equipment; prevention and control of crop and animal diseases; agricultural biotechnology to explore improvements in crop health and protection; and the development of nutritious foods that meet the needs of consumers.
During the visit companies were able to make pitches to interested Chinese companies and organisations. Innovate UK said that this was followed “by a series of short meetings and many leads were generated”.
The UK visitors were also able to see several demonstration projects that the CRTDC are sponsoring, they included a hydroponics site in Hangzhou and an e-commerce pig trading centre in Chongqing. The centre has already traded around £2.5 billion of pigs in its first year and means that buyers can see the pig health and growth data before buying.
Innovate UK said: “The companies returned back to the UK with strong leads that are actively being followed up, and closer ties are being formed between UK research providers and the Agri-Tech Centres and the CRTDC and Chinese Universities.”
China’s SZ DJI Technology Co., a top consumer-drone maker, is setting its sights on the agriculture industry with the launch of a crop sprayer that will test whether farming is fertile ground for drone technology. Their latest drone can spray pesticides on seven to 10 acres of farmland an hour, depending on how much it needs to climb, descend or turn to follow the terrain. This is just one example of China leading in agri-tech.