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Vee Gururajan is a co-inventor/innovator and has worked in the R & D fresh produce industry for 16 years. Vee Gururajan is Executive Board Director at Branston Limited, one of the largest retail potato suppliers in the UK. Vee is also Managing Director at B-hive Innovations Limited, an Agri-tech company created in 2017.
One business success
- Business growth: over the past 18 months we’ve gone from strength to strength, expanding from a team of 12 to 19 and we’re still recruiting. The business continues to grow, and we are starting to get interested in our technologies from outside the UK, which will open up fantastic opportunities to export our innovation within a post-Brexit landscape. In addition, the team have secured Innovate UK funding for two new projects – this is a very competitive process and is a huge achievement.
Two challenges for the sector
- The pace of change: the word unprecedented has been widely used in the recent past, however, we are seeing an unprecedented pace in the advancement of technologies that could increase productivity in agriculture.
- Lack of readiness/acceptance from farmers: there are so many technologies and data platforms available to growers for all crop types It can be difficult for growers to understand what works well for them, and to have trust in a new system. Because of this, it is imperative that agri-tech companies work with growers when developing their technologies to gain end-user feedback on the product and to gain their trust.
Three forecasts for the sector
- Race to net zero emissions: what we’ve started to see this year already, and expect to see for the foreseeable future, is businesses working towards lower carbon emissions. This is being seen across the agri-food industry from farm to fork, businesses are looking for new practices and technologies to help them reach the net zero target.
- New talent: we attract graduates with emerging skills who are passionate about using their skill set to bring meaningful changes in society and increasingly we are seeing that they are opting for ag-tech businesses to fulfil their passion. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring new talent into agriculture.
- Deep learning and AI: the use of these technologies will increase in all aspects of agriculture, to help break away from conventional sampling data and provide meaningful insights on crops using whole population data.