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Brief Published: 7 Oct 2020

Could Agri-Tech Solve Global Food Supply Chain Problems?

Extra
Infarm

Whether tackling empty supermarket shelves or offsetting carbon emissions (see The Brief), investors are looking to agri-tech for future-facing solutions to make food supply chains more sustainable. After achieving an influx of capital this September, we expect this sector to expand rapidly in the coming decade – especially as the pandemic has made food insecurity a tangible concern for many consumers.

  • Vertical Urban Farming Secures Sky-High Investments: Despite the current recession, Berlin-based urban farming firm Infarm raised $170m worth of investment in September to grow the largest urban vertical farming network in the world. The influx of capital will allow Infarm to grow its cloud-connected farming facilities from 500,000 sq ft to over five million by 2025.
    The firm attributes the new investment to a mounting consumer appetite towards fresh, sustainable and local food products in the wake of the pandemic. See New Era Living and The Brief for more.
  • The Middle-East Takes On Agri-Tech: In September, Abu Dhabi-based agri-tech company Pure Harvest Smart Farms announced €30m ($35m) investment to build a hi-tech farm in Kuwait. Smart Harvest claims the climate-controlled facility will allow fruits and vegetables to be grown in harsh environments and use up to 90% less water than traditional forms of agriculture. 
    Domesticating food produce in the Gulf States is a smart move, as 80-90% of food consumed in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is imported. 
  • Microsoft Supports Africa’s Agri-Tech Transformation: Through its 4Afrika initiative, Microsoft recently launched a partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which aims to improve food security for 30 million farming households across 11 countries by 2021. 
    This collaboration is just one part of Microsoft’s ongoing investment in agri-tech in Africa. As well as contributing to agriculture cloud platform FarmBeats’ expansion, Microsoft has also supported several agri-tech start-ups and companies, such as SunCultureVirtual CityN-Frnds and Twiga Foods.
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