VirtualVet participated in the SmartAgriFood FIPPP Accelerator final event in Dusseldorf this week. While there we promoted the need for the agri-food and agri-tech community to involve more government and large industry actors in our meetings and discussions. Digital agriculture will only work if supported by government digitisation.
It was great to see the progress from our fellow start-ups. We may be different companies in different areas of the agri-food world, but we face very similar challenges. A common theme of strategic revision was evident, coupled with a real desire for collaboration and partnership. VirtualVet presented at, listened and contributed to the discussions over the two day event and we came away with a renewed energy, an expanded to-do list and some valuable connections.
Particularly positive was the growing acceptance that the technological approaches to agri-tech and agri-food need to be supported by farmer centered business models. We added our belief in the need to bring government agencies and ministries deeper in to the agri-tech development world. Many businesses presented products and services of massive use to government; but are marketing them to farmers. A recent McKinsey report sets out the importance of government implementation of technology through “data enablement for the common good”. VirtualVet is working to develop a data aggregation service for the food producing animal industry which will offer just such an opportunity for government agencies to use digitised data for the common good. As we see it, in agriculture alone, government digitisation would encourage and promote the use of digitised, near real-time data to support the work of agencies, farmers, the industry while improving traceability and food safety for consumers. The EU Animal Health Law contains all the policy encouragement member states require. Now we, the agri-tech community, must work with government to explore how we can collaborate to tackle the huge risks facing our agri-food industry and our wider society.
Without near real-time data aggregation, analysis and visualisation, threats such as Antimicrobial Resistance will remain far too difficult to address. VirtualVet explored these issues before and will continue to build our vision of digitised, near real-time, animal treatment data capture for the food producing animal sector.