16 UK businesses took part in an agri-tech mission to Colombia in early March.

 

 

A joint mission organised by the British Embassy Colombia Prosperity Fund, CIAT and KTN saw 16 UK businesses gaining a wealth of knowledge around the opportunities for UK agri-tech in Colombia. Of the companies that attended, expertise included satellite observation to intelligent irrigation as well as a small cohort of insurance companies, focusing on agriculture, a key area that Colombia is looking to address.

 

Over the course of the week, the UK companies had a chance to meet with key stakeholders, visit Colombian producers, including coffee farms, tilapia farms and a cutting edge medicinal cannabis plant. These visits provided the delegates with opportunities to gain a greater understanding of farming in Colombia and where their products could help drive productivity and improve sustainability. Over 150 meetings took place and over 100 Colombian organisations engaged with the mission over the week.

 

The conversations held throughout the week helped highlight the desire from Colombian producers to invest in agri-tech and insurance for their crops.

 

One of the meetings has already resulted in two companies working together on making more environmentally sustainable biological controls available in less developed countries.

 

Lisa Williams, Director of Business Development at Agri-EPI Centre, attended the agri-tech mission to Colombia in March 2020. Agri-EPI has successfully established SmartFarms in China, New Zealand and Paraguay, and attended the mission to understand more about the challenges and opportunities for British Agri-Tech businesses in Colombia.

Here’s what Lisa Williams said about the mission:

“The trade mission offered valuable insight and plenty of one-to-one meetings (in fact these were constant throughout the week) with Colombian organisations to promote and connect British Agri Tech businesses with the Colombia ag sector (ranging from cocoa, coffee, fruit, flowers, dairy, beef and pork). I was pleasantly surprised with Colombia and am excited to explore the opportunities, and I thank KTN, CIAT and the British Embassy with the support shown.”

 

Debbie Tully and Lucy Mather, two of our agri-food Knowledge Transfer Managers helped facilitate the mission in the months beforehand in the UK and on the ground in Colombia.

 

Speaking about the mission Debbie Tully said:

“It was fantastic to see such a high level of interest received for this mission. It really highlights the appetite to work with the AgriTech sector in Colombia. We hope that there are some really great collaborations formed between the UK and Colombian partners following the successes of the mission, which will benefit both the economy of both countries.”

 

Lucy Mather added to this:

“The economic landscape of Colombia has changed significantly over the past 20 years, with vast opportunities now being represented in Agriculture and other industries. With a predicted GDP growth in 2020 this is a great time to be investing in the country and with a growing middle class population that has a higher purchasing power there are plenty of opportunities waiting to be explored.”

 

The next step in building relationships between the two countries is for many of the companies who were on the mission to attend AgroFuturo later in the year. This is an annual event held in Colombia, acting as a demonstration and knowledge exchange platform for Latin America. It offers the UK companies an excellent platform to demonstrate how their technologies can help to improve productivity and sustainability in Latin America.

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