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Agri-tech firms in East Anglia set to launch trade mission to Canada

PUBLISHED: 14:01 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:26 14 March 2019

Alex Fallon, chief executive and president of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) with Agri-Tech East director Belinda Clarke. Picture: Agri-Tech East

Alex Fallon, chief executive and president of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) with Agri-Tech East director Belinda Clarke. Picture: Agri-Tech East

Agri-Tech East

East Anglia’s agri-tech innovators have a chance to showcase their products in Canada as part of a new trans-Atlantic trade partnership.

Agri-Tech East has been chosen by the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) as its first international partner for Harvest, an annual trade mission that includes introductions to key farming companies in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

The scheme also assists companies with travel and accommodation expenses to attend Ag in Motion, the largest outdoor agriculture trade show in western Canada, from July 16-18.

Agri-Tech East’s 170-strong membership of farmers, producers, technologists and entrepreneurs will have the chance to pitch their products and services to major Canadian producers, processors and investors.

The province of Saskatchewan is Canada’s leading agricultural exporter and also its top grain-producing region, with over 40pc of the country’s arable farmland.

Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-Tech East, said: “Canadian farmers share many of the same issues as UK producers. The Harvest programme offers an incredible springboard towards international expansion for innovative, entrepreneurial companies in the agri-food sphere.”

READ MORE: Big data harvesting tool could unlock smarter farming

One Agri-Tech East member which has already benefited from the Harvest programme is PBD Biotech, based at Thurston near Bury St Edmunds.

In 2017 it was given the opportunity to showcase its Actiphage test for bovine tuberculosis (TB) and other livestock diseases, winning that year’s Ag in Motion Innovation Award for crop or livestock technology.

Last summer, the Suffolk firm set up a subsidiary office in Saskatoon, the largest city in the province, as a base for its commercial and manufacturing operations in the North American continent.

PBD Biotech chief executive Dr Berwyn Clarke said: “Bovine TB and Johne’s disease are of global concern. Actiphage’s ability to rapidly identify the disease-causing mycobacteria from blood and milk samples drew interest from Canadian milk and beef producers.

“Introductions facilitated by Harvest put us at least six months ahead of schedule in establishing an office in Saskatoon’s agricultural centre.”

SREDA president Alex Fallon said: “Saskatoon has already benefited from working with one of Agri-Tech East’s members and we’re excited to see results from an already fruitful connection.

“The goal of Harvest is to promote the Saskatoon Region to agriculture technology companies and this partnership with Agri-Tech East takes that one step further. This relationship provides us with a great opportunity to showcase the strength of the agriculture industry to connect farmers and industry leaders with international companies and investors.”

• Agri-tech organisations interested in the trade mission from 16-18 July 2019, should contact Agri-Tech East by the deadline of April 26.

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