The Middle East agri-tech investment is increasing, presenting an exciting opportunity, according to Rob Bulstrode of PwC.
In support, Agri-TechE has provided insights based on its deep knowledge has has identified member organisations that have significant expertise across the four target sectors:
- Controlled environment agriculture
- Algae-based biofuels
- Precision agriculture
- Agricultural robotics
Technologies being developed in the ecosystem, such as agri-robotics, vertical farming systems, data management for improved yields and sensors to monitor livestock health, are world leading. In addition, there are a number of platform technologies and point solutions in areas such as biotech, blockchain and the Internet of Things that could easily pivot for application in agriculture.
Rob comments that as the global agricultural landscape changes, businesses around the world are actively looking for disruptive technologies to solve key issues, and create new solutions for food production:
“The Abu Dhabi Investment Office has recently invested $100 million in four agritech companies and is keen to create an attractive environment for companies to get established in the region,” he says. “Financial incentives are being planned to encourage international firms to develop a presence in the region, with funds specifically designated for investment in agritech,”
Dr Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-TechE comments that Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is a particular strength within the agri-tech innovation ecosystem and the larger scale of operation that would be needed in the Middle East creates an opportunity to accelerate developments.
“Over recent months we have seen the knowledge and technology required for plant production and environmental control become more robust and scalable. A significant investment in large units would enable the sector to test and develop this technology on an industrial scale and this would lower the barriers for wider adoption in other territories.
“Until now CEA has been reserved for high value fruit, leafy vegetables and herbs. The Middle East has plenty of land, year around solar energy year, but a shortage of water, there is potential for it to become a sustainable supplier of staple crops and a food basket for North Africa.”
Interest in agri-tech is growing in many regions of the world and Agri-TechE is forging relationships with these centres to support its members with collaborations and international expansion.
Middle East agri-tech investment webinar
PwC and Agri-TechE are hosting a webinar for Agri-TechE members to find out more about the opportunities being created in the UAE on 14th September.
In addition, there is an opportunity for all to discuss Controlled Environment Agriculture at “CEA Lite” on 10th September, which is looking a recent development. Topics will include: disruptive business models, the technologies underpinning the movement, the appetite of investors, and the training and transferrable skills needed for vertical farming, in a mix of short presentations, discussions and opportunities for Q&A.