Author: Matt Peskett

Matt is a digital publishing consultant with over 20 years of experience working with media and events companies in the science, technology, food and agricultural sectors. He is an expert in digital marketing and open source web development and has been employed in senior management roles at Nature.com and William Reed (thegrocer.co.uk / foodmanufacture.co.uk). Matt's own passion for sustainable food production includes growing his own organic produce. With a sizeable horticultural social media presence Matt has been a finalist in the Garden Media Guild's blog of the year and social media awards. He built foodandfarmingtechnology.com to highlight larger scale sustainable innovations in food production.

Poor rains between March and May have had a devastating impact on farming in Kenya this year, with an estimated 2.1 million Kenyans facing starvation due to a drought ravaged harvest. In September, with crops failing, the country’s President Kenyatta declared a national disaster. Israeli smart irrigation company SupPlant has begun a project to help bring precision irrigation to Kenyan farmers and permanently alleviate the pressures of future droughts. SupPlant has begun work with around half a million, mostly female, smallholder maize farmers. Maize is the predominant crop in East Africa but it comes with some risks because whilst it…

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Vertical farming technology companies are not all solely focused on feeding humans with leafy green garnish, some like American firm Grōv Technologies are using their innovative technology to grow animal feed. They do so with 95% reductions in water and land use as well as the complete removal of herbicides and pesticides from the growth chain. Today Grōv Technologies announced that it will build a controlled environment feed centre in the US state of Texas to grow fresh High-Density Nutrient (HDN) Superfeed™ year-round. The centre at the Cnossen Dairy will house next generation Grōv Tower Farm technology and produce over…

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Israel’s Blue White Robotics (BWR) has announced US$37M in Series B funding, taking the company to US$50M of investment since its inception in 2017 and only 7 months after the official release of its autonomous tractor kit. BWR says that by retrofitting existing infrastructure with intelligent autonomous algorithms, its robot tractors improve farm productivity, precision, and worker safety. The vehicle agnostic robot kit converts any existing tractor to a fully autonomous machine and integrates with BWR’s Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) platform. The platform collects and distributes data that creates new services to increase yields and reduce inputs for the growing autonomous operation.…

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Ireland’s AgTechUCD Innovation Centre has announced the eight start-ups selected to participate in University College Dublin’s new accelerator programme for early-stage AgTech and FoodTech start-up companies. They include developers of livestock and crop monitoring solutions, a sustainable fodder production system and an autonomous poultry robot which collects eggs. Commencing this week, the inaugural 2021 ‘Agccelerator’ Programme (see what they did there) will run as an intensive 12-week virtual programme. The fast-track schedule will include dedicated business development workshops and investor readiness training, mentoring from AgTech and FoodTech experts and business advisors, guest speakers and include facilitated introductions to AgTechUCD’s venture…

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EarthOptics, the US based carbon mapping technology firm, has closed its Series A investment round, raising an additional US$10.3 million in funding. The new investment will enable further growth and expansion of its patent-pending soil mapping and machine learning technologies across more farms. EarthOptics aims to give farmers the most accurate view of their soil’s health, compaction and carbon content by transforming soil measurement and analysis methods. The company claims its technology will provide farmers with a greater return on investment as well as promote more active participation in the carbon market whilst increasing farmers’ abilities to generate a climate-positive…

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California’s Advanced Farm Technologies, the first U.S. company to commercialise robotic strawberry harvesting, has closed a US$25 million Series B funding round. The funds will be used to support the company’s growth in strawberry picking and the adaptation of its technology for use in apple picking. Designed to work alongside manual harvest crews, the Advanced Farm TX Robotic Strawberry Harvester automatically senses and picks red, ripe fruit from in-soil strawberry beds with gentle, food-grade gripper technology. The purpose-built machine consists of multiple, rugged robots able to withstand harsh outdoor environments and in-soil conditions. Sophisticated computer vision and machine learning technology…

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Corteva Agriscience has announced the winners in its 2021 Climate Positive Leaders Program. The nomination-based initiative showcases innovative farmers and ranchers from around the world who are successfully implementing, scaling and sharing climate positive practices. Representing the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Kenya, the winning farmers have adopted a wide range of innovative systems and approaches that uniquely support their productivity goals whilst protecting the land and water in the environment around them. US winner Ryan Speer knows exactly why he has taken steps to introduce sustainable farming practices saying “I took the stance I didn’t ever want to…

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American cell-cultured seafood company BlueNalu has agreed to explore the introduction of cell-based seafood products in Europe via an agreement with UK-based Nomad Foods – Europe’s leading frozen food company. In April, BlueNalu also increased its potential reach to Asian markets following Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Thailand’s global seafood producer Thai Union and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation. Europe is the largest importer of seafood in the world due to high consumption rates, with EU citizens consuming more than three times as much as they produce. The agreement represents the first of its kind in Europe between a consumer packaged goods company…

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Billions of commercial honeybees compete with thousands of native pollinator species for nectar, contributing to a dangerous global decline in their populations. We previously reported on how pollination technology is being developed to ease dependency on commercial honeybee services, but would a reduction in hive numbers inadvertently impact on the availability and price of honey? Demand for honey is high, humans have been consuming it for at least 9000 years. Today UK consumers get through 86 million lbs annually, with 95% of that honey imported – bringing with it an environmental cost. Honey consumption in the U.S. has nearly doubled…

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Next week (20-22 September 2021) Zenith Global’s 2021 Vertical Farming World Congress takes place online. This second Congress programme includes many of the industry leaders at the forefront of recent acquisition, funding and expansion announcements such as AeroFarms, Bowery, CubicFarm, IGS, Infarm, Kalera, Plenty, Vertical Future, YesHealth and 80 Acres. The event also features the inaugural 2021 Vertical Farming World Awards. These awards celebrate excellence and innovation across the global vertical farming industry, with entries received in sixteen categories spanning crops, technology, sustainability and commercial initiatives. The finalists and winners have been selected by an eminent panel of independent judges…

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