A strong theme which evolved from this year’s Innovation Arena was a focus on efficiency and innovation and concentration on how to protect and benefit more from our natural resources.
The next phase of the CAP was high on the agenda for many entries with a focus on where food systems will be in 10 years time.
Over the coming decade, carbon and environmental management will likely become as important a currency on farm as the output from milk, beef or grain.
The overall winner of the Innovation Arena, Brandon Bioscience, is gearing towards the future, with an interesting collaboration between a marine biotech company and a traditional fertiliser blender to deliver an innovative new product that has the potential to reduce chemical nitrogen input on farms by up to 20%.
The agri-food industry is a very important sector for Enterprise Ireland. As a country, we rely on the sector heavily as it supports over 150,000 jobs.
Innovation and research are essential to secure the raw materials for the sector of which nearly 70% is sourced in Ireland.
Looking at this year’s competition and the global trends in agritech, it is becoming clear that farms will have the ability to capture more data to aid management decisions.
The digitalisation and interpretation of data and, more importantly, the uptake of these technologies at farm level could provide a tremendous benefit in capturing how efficient our sector is at both food production and carbon sequestration.
Enterprise Ireland supported the innovative collaboration between agritech company Devenish and Accenture to launch a sustainable farming initiative that will accurately measure on-farm carbon emissions and, uniquely, carbon sequestration. This project – Agrinewal – is projected to enable over five million tonnes of carbon to be sequestered by 2030 and Enterprise Ireland has provided €400,000 of funding.
EquiTrace won the first ever VetTech award and was awarded best startup company at the Innovation Arena.
It is a new app that works with a horse’s microchip to identify, locate and track individual animals as they move, also recording animal temperature and health records.
Ireland is uniquely positioned to lead on technology in this sector, given our international reputation for horse breeding, with more foals born in Ireland per year than in Kentucky.
It is great to see on-farm innovation that has potential to make an impact on global farming. Family companies like Samco have evolved from these early beginnings to become worldwide exporters of niche innovative products.
Innovation in the agricultural sector is now needed more than ever. We will all have to work closer together to meet these challenges, right across the value chain and the economic benefit will be shared by all.