Agtech startups contribute to Canada’s economic recovery
A new report, Growing Canada: How Agribusiness is Evolving, from KPMG in Canada, reveals that agribusiness has the potential to contribute to Canada’s economic recovery through the adoption of agricultural technologies.
According to David Guthrie, partner and national agribusiness leader, KPMG in Canada, there has never been a more opportune time to introduce digital innovations that can help meet the emerging challenges of an evolving agricultural sector. fast. “AgTech innovations such as drones and sensors are creating opportunities to transform the agriculture and agri-food industries and alleviate the many pressures on our food system. “
For Canadian farmers, these challenges include food safety, population growth, food insecurity, expectations of sustainability, labor shortages, strong foreign competition, lack of reliable rural broadband connectivity. and climate change, according to the KPMG report.
Agriculture, the engine of economic growth
the report notes that the sector has great potential to be an engine of economic growth. According to the Federal Minister of Finance’s Council on Economic Growth, Canada’s agriculture industry is expected to generate an additional $ 11 billion in GDP by 2030, mainly due to population growth.
But, as the report finds, adopting agro-tech innovations to automate and streamline many processes could make the industry significantly more productive and responsive to growing consumer expectations.
By leveraging data management technologies, sensors, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, farmers can harness the information to improve irrigation and pest control, monitor severe weather, and improve productivity. , resilience and worker safety. Agtech innovations can also lead to more precise use of resources, less waste, faster time to market, improved traceability and biosecurity, the report says.
Agtech also creates opportunities for agricultural workers to learn and use new skills such as data collection and analysis. These innovations are essential to the practice of so-called controlled environment agriculture (AEC), or indoor agriculture, which makes agriculture more sustainable, adaptable and efficient.
“With all the opportunities that technology offers to tackle climate change, improve nutritional security and strengthen sustainability, there is no doubt that this is the way of the future for agriculture,” said M Guthrie.
Soaring agrotech startups
While Canadian farmers have traditionally relied heavily on federal government programs and grants to fund new technologies, another avenue has emerged to support them: private equity investors and venture capital firms.
Globally, AgTech’s venture capital funding has exploded since 2015, says Guthrie. Venture capitalists have invested US $ 4 billion in agro-tech startups since 2019, and agtech is expected to be valued at US $ 729.5 billion by 2025, according to the report.
At least 166 startups are now focusing on agtech in Canada, aided in part by the federal government’s Canadian Agricultural Partnership program which engages private-sector venture capitalists. Mr. Guthrie says this partnership program has helped spur agricultural innovations, such as new crop varieties, livestock breeds, nutrient management practices, tillage methods and agricultural machinery, as well as advancements. biotechnology, precision agriculture, communications and information technology.