Innovation in horticulture panel: Global perspective from HM Clause


This presentation made by Cecelia Chi-Ham of HM Clause (who is also a member of the Horticulture Innovation Lab's international advisory board) focuses on the evolution of agricultural technology and technology adoption globally. This presentation was given as part of the "Innovation and Technology in Horticulture" panel on May 9, 2018, at the Horticulture Innovation Lab's annual meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

Agricultural practices have evolved to incorporate technology in an effort to boost productivity. One of the technologies that Chi-Ham featured as reshaping modern agriculture is the mechanical tomato harvester and associated tomato varieties that are machine-harvestable. 

One point Chi-Ham emphasized as critical is that validating a new technology in its early stages with farmers is necessary for successful technology introduction. When breeding new vegetable varieties, if the breeding itself takes 6-8 years to develop a new variety, then the company spends 3-4 years at the end working with farmers to test the new variety in different plots.

She also discussed the importance of understanding where in the value chain a particular new technology could have an impact, whether as an input, during production, packaging, processing, distribution, food retail or food service. 

The presentation also includes statistics and sources from the American Seed Trade Association on the value of vegetable seed (vegetable seed makes up about 10 percent of the global seed market, which is valued at $50 billion overall), and on U.S. vegetable exports and vegetable farm gate values. The presentation also includes a map from Rabobank showing trade flows of fresh vegetables and processed vegetables between countries in 2018.