Nigel Jenney believes agritech can help solve the many issues faced by the fresh produce sector
The rapid development and adoption of agritech innovation offers hope of addressing the industry’s many problems, Fresh Produce Consortium CEO Nigel Jenney has claimed.
The fresh produce industry has been in turmoil for several years now, Jenney pointed out, with major external factors including labour supply, energy, drought and extensive supply chain cost increases affecting fresh produce production around the globe.
Things are becoming increasingly difficult, he added, meaning the industry needs to take a fresh look at how to tackle the multitude of challenges faced.
Jenney believes the adoption of technological solutions throughout the supply chain is a major part of the solution. “Through agritech, we can target those areas of the industry that face both short-term and long-term challenges and grasp the untapped potential of our sector,” he said. ”Let’s not forget we are fundamental to the success of the wholefood industry.
“The technology is emerging but currently there isn’t enough education about its use and there needs to be more financially viable routes available to support its adoption. That’s why FPC has developed a groundbreaking two-in-one event to both showcase the latest innovation and discover the next generation of talent to take the fresh produce and horticultural sectors confidently forward to the future.”
The exhibition and conference event FPC Future will return in 2023 to provide insight into the future of agritech for the fresh produce and flower industries. It has been developed to lift the lid on the agricultural and horticultural innovations needed to safeguard the future of food supply, such as vertical farming.
Visitors will find a large exhibition of numerous international agritech companies along with their innovations, products and services, all of which can help food and produce businesses to become more efficient, increase productivity and assist their workforce.
A Big Tech area will also bring agritech innovation to life with live robotics displays, alongside a special area for start-up agritech companies.
As part of the conference programme, speaker sessions with talks from industry experts will run throughout the day. “We desperately need this opportunity, not only to showcase innovation but to educate the industry into how it can be embraced and rapidly adopted in order to bridge the gaps we are currently facing and to provide a strong foundation for future growth,” Jenney added.
Running alongside FPC Future is FPC Careers, which provides employers an opportunity to secure the next generation of talent needed to drive forward the food, fresh produce and floral industries.
Exhibitors and sponsors will connect with jobseekers, forge relationships with tutors from UK academic institutions, and meet with industry-specific recruitment agencies.
All food, fresh produce and cut flower growers, producers, logistics providers, foodservice operators, retailers, labour providers, hospitality operators and other related sectors are welcome, according to the FPC.
FPC Careers will recognise how the rapid adoption of technology is creating new career opportunities such as data science, as well as prompting a reconsideration of how sector skills are developed within the fresh produce industry.
Both events will take place at the East of England Arena, Peterborough on 16 March 2023.