China’s Canton Fair Sheds Light on Agricultural Technology Opportunities
Last month I visited China to learn more about agriculture by attending the largest import and export fairs — the 123rd Canton Fair. The fair is held in three stages in Guangzhou City and has more than 24,000 exhibitors and 200,000 participants from more than 190 countries. It also generated about US$30 billion in sales. The Canton fair is designed for foreigners who want to buy from China and learn all about its products.
China has a population of 1.4 billion people and is the second largest economy in the world. Walking the streets I was impressed by the size of China’s infrastructure, highways, ports, warehouses, buildings, and cultural diversity. In the region of the fair in the South, it is interesting to see agriculture competing for space with the big construction companies, forming a very interesting contrast, where the utilization of the agricultural areas is very optimized.
The purpose of visiting the Canton Fair was to learn about agricultural equipment and how this new technology might be brought to Brazil, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), soil sensors, weather stations, small and medium-sized machines, spare parts, etc.
While walking through the 16 pavilions at Canton Fair, I noticed one of the busiest sectors was the renewable energy one, with more than 80 companies exhibiting with their latest innovations. In my view, solar energy is very important in several countries to reduce the cost of electricity, which can directly help farmers to reduce their costs in ownership and increase the sustainability of production. Each year the price of deploying solar energy systems has been declining and many banks are encouraging the use of this technology.
One company at the fair that caught my attention was ToFree Aviation Technology Co., which produces a UAV for the application of pesticides (P20 Agricultural Drone). According to the manufacturer, the P20 Agricultural Drone is able to meet 90% application requirements for all kinds of land.
In Brazil, this type of equipment is still not popular yet, mostly due to high prices and doubts about the legislation. But I believe that in the future this equipment will be popular in small and medium farms and for research areas, in general. The price of such equipment has been falling and encouraging farmers and companies to use the technology.
In the time I spent in China I was very impressed with everything I saw. I met people from all over the world and I saw that many countries in South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia still have an incipient agriculture when it comes to ag technology, precision agriculture, machines, and agricultural implements. It is interesting to see how great global economies such as China have a role of making this technology cheaper for these regions.
And we who work in the agricultural sector have a noble role and the challenge of producing food for these large countries.
To learn more, visit CantonFair.org.