January 18, 2021
International Congress Berlin
Farm & Food 4.0

06. February 2020

Crossing bridges

Interview with Cainthus’ CEO Aidan Connolly

What is the potential that technology and improved cooperation can have for the agri-food industry? We talked with Aidan Connolly about that at Farm & Food 4.0 in Berlin.

By Sarah Liebigt

Farm & Food: When you think about the funding part of innovation in agriculture: What’s missing, where could investors improve?
Aidan Connolly: That depends on which side of the fence you are sitting on. From an investor perspective: A lot of startups don’t understand agriculture that well. So we have to help them bridge the gap between their technology and what their technology is capable of and how the farmer will gain value from that. So, suggesting to them to run tests on farms, do discussion groups with farmers, try to engage in some process of being sure that the advantages they see are advantages that farmers want.

From a startup perspective: I think, startups are looking for help. They need help finding the right place to test and try out their ideas, their tech.

Which role can innovation play during the next ten years in agriculture?
The gaps between where we are in agriculture today and where we could go to are quite large. People believe – correctly – that agriculture has made huge leaps forward in efficiency. But the reality is that if you have a test farm and compare it to the field, the test farm is usually 10 percent better in performance.

And from a genetic perspective in most animal species and plant species, the gap between what we can do and what we are doing is about 30 percent. Digital technologies, data driven technologies, even different ways of reducing food waste, reducing waste in the field, increasing our knowledge of all these things have the capability of making very large improvements.

We also ned to look at sustainability, animal welfare, the effect on the planet, dealing with what I call the “prosumer values”: Consumers that have positive demands from the food industry about what they want from an ethical and from an aspirational perspective in terms of the food they consume.

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