V-4 countries look to UK for productivity boost

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A NEW initiative is being announced that may create opportunities for UK potato growers and tech makers to showcase their innovation to Poland and other V-4 countries looking to improve their agricultural productivity. 

Poland is one of the V-4 countries looking to UK agri-tech innovators to improve the productivity of its agriculture. According to Agri-TechE, the membership organisation for agri-tech, the country is looking to invest in R&D and emerging agri-tech to build on its reputation for Polish agri-food products and to capitalise on the growing demand for more complex food ingredients such as for customised diets. 

Alex Dinsdale is coordingating the UK-V4 Mission as Regional Growth Manager for Agri-TechE. He said its aim is to introduce agriculturalists from the V4 countries of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to innovators within the Agri-TechE ecosystem. 

He said: “The V-4 consortium is interested in agri-tech developments such as the use of drones, robots, sensors and farm management software for precision farming, as well as next generation farms and urban farming. Academic and business members of Agri-TechE have significant expertise in these areas and the V-4 countries have a combined agricultural area of 26.6 million hectares representing an opportunity for UK companies to deliver these solutions at scale.” 

Michal Sobczyk, Digital Attaché at the British Embassy in Warsaw is leading the UK-V4 mission. He said: “It is Poland’s ambition to be Europe’s food production hub. Agri-food accounts for 8% of the country’s gross added value and the trade surplus is increasing. Many Polish companies have invested recently in the latest production-line infrastructure particularly in dairy, meat and frozen food and now is the turn of agriculture.  

“A major challenge is fragmentation, as the average farm is only 10 hectares (70 in the UK). However, there are other issues, our farms use 20 percent more fertiliser than UK farms and we are looking for solutions to improve farming output and quality and reduce environmental impacts.” 

The consortium is also interested in FoodTech which encompasses innovation in the products, distribution, marketing or business model in the food sector. So, it is looking at R&D in areas such as nanotechnology in conservation, filtering, and packaging innovation. 

Also important is the need to increase food product complexity to move production up the value chain, for instance with organic food and products for customised diets. Creating greater job opportunities within the processing sector. 

UK-V4 Mission will include a webinar on March 18th which is open to all agri-tech organisations. For more information, visit our events page here.

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