Autogrow and Agritecture Consulting have launched their 2nd Annual Global CEA Census, focusing on understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on controlled environment agriculture (CEA) operations around the world.
“We’re all operating in a unique situation right now and what’s required is a reality check. All of us, including growers, suppliers, distributors, government and financial institutions, need a clear view of what should be implemented, ensuring farm operators address a raft of challenges to continue to feed communities,” explains Autogrow CEO, Darryn Keiller.
“In every major market, media coverage of farms has made clear the high COVID-19 infection rate amongst farm workers, coupled with major challenges in getting their traditional immigration sourced labor across closed borders. Infection rates in food processing plants are another example.”
“It will take accelerated engagement between industry stakeholders to get us through the next 12 months and on into the future. Some farm operators have adapted well, whereas others will require additional financial intervention and modernize their approach to farming. We hope this Census will highlight the true impact of what’s happening and where the priorities lie.”
Last year, the 2019 Census reported on several areas including growth plans, agricultural experience, and profitability. This year, the Census will focus specifically on COVID-19 and whether decisions indicated last year have been affected.
“In 2019, we found 90% of respondents planned to increase their production area. We’re curious as to whether that is still the case, and if not, what other business changes are being implemented due to COVID-19,” says Agritecture Founder and CEO, Henry Gordon-Smith.
“The future is going to be about maintaining the health of workers, alongside the health of the business. Consumers will be looking for transparency around food sourcing, sustainable and local producers, and this is an opportunity for the CEA industry to take a lead in what will be our new normal.”
Recent figures released by the World Health Organization show the rapid spread of COVID-19 that has resulted in countries implementing various lockdown measures. This, in turn, has had a major impact on the entire food supply chain, including CEA farms that are key food producers around the world.
The 2020 Global Census will run from July 7, 2020 until August 10, 2020.
All completed submissions will go in the draw to win multiple prizes, including tickets to Agritecture Xchange, a speaking spot in the conference, a feature on Agritecture’s blog, and a discount off an annual Folium subscription with every purchase of a Folium Sensor Starter Pack.