The vast flat plains of Russia require large-scale farming and an opportunity to implement expertise in ‘big data’, Terravost’s Carl Atkin explained at the launch of the special interest group. Carl described how the introduction of equipment tracking improved efficiency and profitability, and allowed tighter control on assets.
Overseas opportunities for agri-tech know-how has been a key feature of our activities this month.
We hosted an Export Week event with UKTI East to help raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities of taking UK agri-tech overseas, a number of producers and manufacturers shared their experiences.
UKTI East provides support for companies interested in international business, it has 28 International Trade Advisers and offers grants to enable companies to attend overseas shows.
This is a good year to take up the opportunity as the focus of the Expo in Milan will be on Agri-Tech from 6-10th July, with topics such as precision agriculture, animal health and aquaculture, highlighting the UK’s excellence in these area
The UK government has big ambitions to increase exports. By 2020, it hopes the value of exports will reach £1 trillion a year, with 100,000 more companies doing business overseas. It’s a stretching target, but with, for example, global dairy demand predicted by the OECD to increase by around a third each in China, India and sub-Saharan Africa, the opportunity to help meet the needs of consumers with changing dietary expectations is widely recognised. This is creating significant opportunities in areas such as reducing waste, innovations in packaging and shelf-stable ambient products, as well as better management of supply chains from the field to the consumer.
One aspect that is easily overlooked is the high esteem with which UK research and businesses are viewed by overseas customers, suppliers and partners. British manufacturers, such as Suffolk-based Claydon Drills, who spoke at the Export Week event, demonstrate that excellent design, high quality products and trusted service support make a viable UK manufacturing base.
Of course, doing business overseas requires careful consideration, and this was discussed by Tim Darby who established a salad producing business for the G’s Group in Poland.
Tim quickly realised the need to understand and embed the business within the local culture and worked to achieve this through a programme of local recruitment, training and communication to workers about the requirements of supermarkets and then need to meet these standards. In addition the company helped to set up schools and forge community links.
Capturing export opportunities is not for the faint-hearted. But the UK’s highly trusted business reputation, political stability and world-class ideas generation, coupled with football teams that global brands, (not to mention the “William and Kate” factor), means that the door to overseas business may be more open for agri-tech excellence than you think.