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The new faces of agritech

Agritech companies currently make up roughly 10% of WEtech Alliance’s active client portfolio. Adam Castle, WEtech’s Director of Venture Services, weighs in with the inside scoop.

“The Canadian Agriculture landscape is the perfect point of convergence for technology, manufacturing, and sustainability. While the job of farmers is fundamentally the same as it has always been, there are so many forces at play making the marriage of farming and tech not just good for business, but the way forward to ensure that business continues to be sustainable in the future,” states Adam.

According to a 2017 Overview of the Canadian Agricultural Innovation System by Agricultural Institute of Canada, Canada is the fifth-largest global exporter of agri-food products, generating export sales of $55 billion – 5.7% of the total value of world food and agriculture exports.

“We Grow for the World” isn’t just a tagline for Chatham-Kent. The region literally leads the world in production of over 70 crop varieties, from fruits to vegetables to plants and grains.

For over 25 years, Woodstock has been the home of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, where farmers can learn about the newest and most innovative products and technology in agriculture. As a result of the global pandemic, the show has moved to an online digital platform in 2020 and 2021 to continue to bring farmers relevant news and updates that could benefit their operations, with two additional small-scale in-person events scheduled for later this month.

“Technology has changed farming so much,” says Denis. “One of the biggest challenges in the mushroom industry is the manual labor. Picking mushrooms is a very tedious, very repetitive job. Mushrooms take a lot of work to pick. But some companies have started using AI robots to run down the whole bed, pick the mushrooms and arrange them by size!”

“There’s a huge shift of people that are taking our industry to the next level using technology,” adds Denis. “Already, local companies like Ortaliza have started embracing this new wave.”


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