On 28 July, British agri-tech experts and companies presented their work, products and services to Uruguayan companies and institutions at an event hosted at the British Residence.
Ambassador Ian Duddy opened the conference, saying that:
We are interested in knowing more about the agricultural sector in Uruguay and in introducing British organisations with know-how and advanced technology that could bring solutions or cooperation opportunities with producers, companies and other partners in Uruguay.
Professor Dave Ross, from the UK AgriEPI Centre, said that three years ago. four Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centres, like the one he belongs to, were created to provide solutions to the agricultural sector and improve productivity.
One of their main goals, in which they are already working on, is bringing academy and industry together to develop technologies that can be useful for the market. One of the examples provided by Professor Ross was a digital platform that sends data taken by satellite directly to producers’ smartphones about crop conditions and animal performance. Also through the use of satellites, they promote more efficient grass utilization for sustainable growth of beef production.
Prof. Ross said that his institute would like to engage in international projects to become partners in research. His aim is to share British technology that could be useful in other countries, like Uruguay, and equally, bring research and development that could work in the United Kingdom.
Later on, three British businesses presented the solutions they offer to different agricultural problems.
Steve Kenyon, from Harbro, explained that their focus is on improving livestock performance and customer profitability providing nutritional solutions for the farming industry.
William Turner, from Polymateria, presented a solution to tackle the disastrous effect of plastic pollution on the environment. Through cutting-edge technology, the company produces an additive which enables plastic packaging to be biodegradable and recyclable.
Jim Wilson introduced Soil Essentials, a company that develops hardware and software for the agriculture sector. One of their products is a self-driving vehicle that sends up to 600 high resolution pictures from the cultivated area to the farmer’s smartphone, where they can zoom in and even see the details of the leaves without having to be on-site.
Gabriela Castro, Sunny Sky Solutions director, presented the report done for INIA (Uruguay’s National Agricultural Research Institute) based on “Productivity and Agri-tech in Uruguay”. The main goal of the research was to identify bottle necks in productivity growth in the agricultural sector, with focus on technological barriers, and suggestions for possible solutions.
Some of the recommendations from the report, Castro said, were putting more focus on “process technologies”, “diffusion, extension, adoption and processes”, and producing “solid economic studies to design and evaluate programs and projects”.