LAHORE-Bayer and XAG announced a strategic partnership to bring, promote and commercialise digital farming technology in Southeast Asia & Pakistan (SEAP). The collaboration was formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two companies. Bayer was represented by Andre Kraide, Country Head for SEAP, while XAG was represented by its Co-founder, Justin Gong. The collaboration will enable smallholder farmers in SEAP access to digital farm management know-how and technology, and help them overcome their farming challenges including labour shortage, water availability, product stewardship and safe use, and most importantly, allowing them to grow more with less. “It is estimated that around 500 million smallholder farmers produce 80 per cent of the food consumed in the developing world,” said Andre Kraide. “We know that we need to double food production to feed 10 billion people by 2050, but we also know that we will not get more land or resources to do so. This is where digital farming comes into the picture”, he said. “As the leader in agriculture, Bayer is committed to enabling smallholders access to digital technology and solutions. We look forward to working closely with XAG, our channel and value chain partners, as well as the governments and other key stakeholders in the countries to leapfrog the smart agricultural movement in Southeast Asia and Pakistan from farm to table,” he added. Under the agreement, Bayer and XAG will jointly explore commercial collaboration in SEAP, including the distribution of XAG products and solutions through Bayer’s channels, as well as joint promotion and market development efforts including establishing channel service providers with local business partners in the countries. The collaboration in SEAP follows an earlier partnership between Bayer and XAG in Japan, which was announced in Tokyo in October 2019. Under the agreement, the two companies commit to work together on optimum spraying solutions that combine unmanned aerial system (UAS) with innovative formulation technology. Key countries in SEAP including Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan have been the leading exporters of rice in the region, while on the other end of the spectrum, others such as Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore have been striving towards self-sufficiency. Robust demand for corn as both food and feed has also seen an increase in corn imports to supplement domestic production in SEAP. Vietnam and Malaysia lead the region in corn imports, driven by strong consumer demand for pork and poultry, respectively. Despite the diversity in the region, they all boast a unifying trait – which is that almost all the agricultural production in these countries are undertaken by smallholder farmers. “XAG has grown from a drone manufacturer based in Guangzhou, China, to the world’s leading agriculture technology company with a 20 million-hectare crop protection service record.
Our product portfolio includes survey and spray drones, agricultural utility vehicles, and IoT equipment such as weather stations and farm cameras,” said Justin Gong. “By the end of 2019, we launched our robotics and software solutions, and enriched smart agriculture ecology of XAG. We are proud and excited to collaborate with Bayer to bring integrated tailored solutions that leverage drones, artificial intelligence and IoT, to help smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia and Pakistan tackle their pressing agricultural challenges.” Following the signing of the MOU, Bayer and XAG will work together on country-specific commercial agreements over the next few months.