With a new hybrid format, Agritechnica Asia & Horti Asia Regional Summit successfully concluded its two-day event titled ‘Smart production for sustainable food systems’, attracting more than 800 virtual attendees from 34 countries. With more than 240 in-person visitors joining the event held in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand, the Summit, co-hosted by the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC), is the largest in-person agricultural event held in Thailand this year.
Covering trending crop production topics in South East Asia, like cluster farming and vertical farming as well as sustainable production of sugarcane and cassava using modern techniques, more than 90 onsite and online speakers from Thailand and worldwide included experts from the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives who delivered applicable know-how from this year’s UN Food System Summit.
“A new challenge was to get Thai participants to the international digital event. The hybrid format of the Summit fits well with Thailand’s national digital agenda for sustainable food systems. The transformation actions need collaboration and partnership from all sectors and stakeholders. Through the Summit process, MOAC can reach out to more people, raise awareness for cross-sectoral collaboration, and expand our network, nationally and internationally,” said Dr. Vanida Khumnirdpetch, Director of Foreign Agricultural Affairs as the Office of the Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand (MOAC), as the venue. “I am looking forward to the return of the Agritechnica Asia & Horti Asia exhibition next year. Of course, an in-person event is preferred,” she added.
“The Summit offers a good opportunity to meet up in an industry forum, where the people who work in agriculture share a mission: to update their knowledge. The technologies presented here are prime examples of fruitful results. My main objective was to deliver to the audience the current status and outlook of smart farming in Thailand, including the future trends. The hybrid exhibition is the new normal, and it offers an advantage for attendees living far from the venue, as they can reach the information online. This is part of today’s zeitgeist as we live in the era of digitalization,” concluded Dr. Dares Kittiyopas, Consultant of the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives and President of the Thai Society of Agricultural Engineering at the close of the event.
Mechanization, precision agriculture, and sustainable production
In both practical and technical sessions, attendees received an overview of the mechanization trends and equipment for sustainable and efficient sugarcane, cassava, rice, and maize production through contributions from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and other expert organizations, as well as from manufacturers such as CLAAS, CNH Industrial, Gessner, and John Deere. Among the highlights were novel concepts like soil sensing, precision fertilizer management, post-harvest techniques, and storage solutions. Visitors received an insight into the modern techniques on water management, including salinity control.
In the session titled ‘Agriculture 4.0 - Precision Agriculture’, presentations by speakers from the Thai Society of Agricultural Engineering, Planet and Varuna, and AI Robotics, among others, explored both the role of precision farming in Thailand and the available solutions, such as drone and satellite technology, automation, and robotics, with practical examples like Oz, the weeding robot, presented by Naio Technologies.
Trending topics in Thailand: Clusterfarms and vertical farming
Supported by the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, the '1st Clusterfarm Future Conference' reported on the successful cluster farm program, which has registered 8,000 farms since its implementation in 2016. The program led by the Thai Department of Agricultural Extension aims to increase farm efficiency. With practitioners and national and international expert speakers from both industry and government, the scope of the conference was a first in Thailand.
The production of plant-based food in urban spaces presents opportunities and challenges which were explored in presentations from the Association for Vertical Farming among others.
In addition to renowned experts from professional organizations, also technology providers presented their solutions. Speakers and exhibitors came from Austria, Australia, Canada, Cambodia, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Farm visit and exhibition showcase in Thailand
“The in-person part of the summit took place at the Imperial Hotel and Convention Centre Korat in Nakhon Ratchasima, at the very heart of rice, cassava, and sugarcane production in Thailand. Visitors took advantage of the farm visit to ‘505 FarmTech’ showing CLAAS JAGUAR equipment performing live silage harvesting,” explained Ms. Panadda Kongma, Director of Agribusiness and Operations, VNU Asia Pacific.
“The high attendance both online and in-person clearly shows that agricultural professionals are committed to continuing to explore new knowledge and connect with other professionals in the industry. This desire for networking is typical in our industry,” concluded Katharina Staske, Managing Director of DLG Thai.
The virtual events of the Agritechnica Asia & Horti Asia Regional Summit were the first of 'Agritechnica on Tour', a new series of virtual events, each exploring trending farm machinery topics in a country or region.
Interactive discussions with experts and in-person networking
The event allowed for ongoing interactive questions during the presentations and virtual attendees used the networking opportunities in the virtual room after the talk which included audio, video, or chat communication.