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Bayer and XAG collaborate to bring digital farming technology to smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia & Pakistan

March 19, Guangzhou – Bayer and XAG today 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. 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 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. The partnership 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. Enabling smallholder farmers in SEAP through technology key to food security 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. “It is estimated that around 500 million smallholder farmers produce 80 per cent of the food consumed in the developing world,” said Andre Kraide, Country Head of Southeast Asia & Pakistan, Bayer. “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.” “As the leader in agriculture, Bayer is committed to enabling smallholder farmers 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. “XAG has grown form 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 vehicle, IoT equipment such as weather stations and farm cameras” said Justin Gong, Co-founder and Vice President of XAG. “By the end of 2019, we launched our robotics and software solutions, 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. About XAGXAG was founded in 2007, committed to the development and implantation of agricultural technology. It is one of the world's leading UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) R&D manufacturers and a smart agriculture solution provider. Headquartered in Guangzhou, XAG consists of XAG MANUFACTURE, XPLANET, XGEOMATICS, and XAG ACADEMY. Meanwhile, XAG has set up laboratories and research stations in 42 countries and regions, including Australia, Japan, Germany, etc., and participated in a number of frontier agri-tech projects.Partnering with many influential international enterprises, XAG aims to provide global farmers with the best local solutions ranging from plant protection, crop monitoring and farm management. With the joint efforts of more than 1,400 employees in R&D, manufacturing and application fields, XAG has successfully blazed a trail in smart & Sustainable agriculture. About BayerBayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros.For more information, go to www.bayer.com. About Crop ScienceIn the area of agriculture, at Bayer, we firmly believe farmers need innovation not only to grow enough, but to grow better for our planet and its people. We have leading research capabilities in bio-technology, crop protection, and data science to deliver tailored solutions to farmers faster than ever before. We seek digital tools that help drive innovation, and we collaborate with external partners so we can create lasting change for people and the planet.We believe every investment in innovation should also be an investment in sustainability. We are equally committed to helping reduce our environmental impact, as well as improving the lives of smallholder farmers. Our long-term success as a company lies not in selling more products, but in providing farmers with the best tools and solutions so they can achieve better harvests using less water, land, and energy.To learn more about Bayer’s vision of modern agriculture, visit www.cropscience.bayer.com
2020-03-19 15:14

XAG Resumes Work and Drone Production to Aid Spring Planting, as China Steadily Recovers from Coronavirus Outbreak

11 March, GUANGZHOU – As the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) slows in China, the country has seen an orderly resumption of work to reboot its economy. The Chinese agriculture technology company XAG is one of the first companies obtaining work resumption approval from government. It has restarted business in its Guangzhou headquarters early on February 10, with an overall 90% work resumption rate of its R&D staff on the first day. To fulfil the large purchasing orders of agricultural drones for the farming season, XAG has also set up a 20-million-yuan relief fund for its supply chain partners who struggle to reopen its factories. According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, only 52% of small-to-medium sized enterprises have been getting back to work by 6 March. While the coronavirus outbreak put many businesses into difficult situation because of the longer-than-expected closure, XAG has already resumed operations in both its headquarters and manufacturing centre. Five key measures have been strictly put in place to ensure that work resumes orderly without compromising the efforts to contain the highly contagious virus. • XAG has established a coronavirus emergency management team, as well as enacting Coronavirus Contingency Plan and Guidance on Protecting Staff from Exposure to Coronavirus. Such prevention and control mechanisms cover a wide range of aspects, including rules on respiratory and hand hygiene, daily health condition monitoring, crisis early warning, disinfection and self-isolation.• All the staff must report their whereabouts over the past 14 days. Those who return by public transport from another city are required to self-isolate before getting back to the workspace.• Sufficient supplies of protective equipment and materials, such as face masks, goggles, thermometers and disinfectants, have been ensured to guarantee the health and safety of every staff member.• Other preventive measures include off-peak commuting, temperature screening and online education on coronavirus disease. Although China’s business activities have steadily recovered, many manufacturers are still struggling to reopen their factories due to poor cashflow or labour shortage. This has resulted in a disrupted supply-chain that might pose a challenge to the country’s agricultural production increasingly dependent on intelligent machines. To prepare for the upcoming spring planting season, XAG has therefore launched a Supply Chain Relief Initiative that helps its supplier partners resume production and improve industry efficiency. Qualified suppliers could apply for a relief fund, which amounted to 20-million-yuan, as prepayment from XAG. Also, professional disinfection services using drone and robot would be provided for free to any supplier in need. “The supply chain of drone manufacturing is a complex system that involves a broad range of industries. XAG’s suppliers are mostly small-to-medium sized manufacturing enterprises. Many of their machine and equipment are financed through bank loans, and obviously it is much more difficult to apply for another loan at this stage. Without enough cashflow, they would not be able to restart operations, let alone returning to full output capacity,” said Tang Xiaomin, Vice President of XAG, in an interview with 21st Century Business Herald. Agricultural drone is an effective precision farming tool designed for direct seeding, crop spraying and fertilisation. It can operate fully autonomously, adapt to various terrains such as hills, mountains and terraces, and deliver pesticides and seeds accurately into targeted fields. As spring farming faces pressure from the coronavirus pandemic, XAG has made unremitting efforts with its partners across the whole supply chain to help farmers resume work with adequate auto agricultural equipment. Up to 26 February, the work resumption rate of XAG’s manufacturing centre, located in Dongguan, has reached 80%. Thousand units of XPlanet Agricultural UAS has been delivered to dealers across 30 provinces in China. With the lockdown policy gradually lifted, more migrant workers have returned to the factory which are getting back on track to its normal output levels.Under the mission of advancing agriculture, XAG has serviced over 7 million farmers with its smart agriculture solutions on 25 million hectares of farmland. Its manufacturing centre is comprised of an automated production line that occupies an area of 50,000㎡, with daily capacity hitting 200 units of agricultural drone so far.  
2020-03-11 16:34

XAG Robot Joins Drone Fleet to Initiate Ground Air Disinfection in Coronavirus Battle

February 28, GUANGZHOU - Since the emergence of new COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in China, XAG has leveraged its world-leading agriculture technology and pledged 5-million-yuan special fund for epidemic containment. XPlanet drones and R80 robots have been deployed by XAG to disinfect affected areas in a series of demonstrations, which helps provide solutions for improving public hygiene and reducing the risk of virus transmission via contaminated surface contact. According to XCloud, the only crop protection UAS cloud system authorised by Civil Aviation Administration of China, up to February 28, 2020, a total of 370 professional teams with over 2,600 XAG agricultural drones have voluntarily joined the disinfection operation, covering an area of 902 million square metres in China’s 20 provinces.Intelligence and Automation to Fight Against COVID-19 While global scientists are devoted to accelerating diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics of this highly contagious virus, automation technologies also contribute at the frontline. For example, drones and robots are replacing hand sprayers to release disinfectant in public places. Infected zones, densely populated areas, epidemic prevention vehicles and waste collection points are the main targets that require site-specific disinfection to kill the virus. Based on advanced technologies such as robotic control, automated driving and high-precision operation, XAG’s agricultural drone and robot can be easily adapted to address the urgent need for fast, accurate disinfection. Compared with manual spraying, these intelligent devices can protect operators from unnecessary exposure to virus and disinfectants. They can automatically disinfect a wider region safer, as well as targeting a specific area to embark on spot spraying and deep clean. Instead of operating independently, drone and robot can combine together to reap the benefits of ground air disinfection against novel coronavirus. Covering a much wider area from the air with variable flying speed, one XAG drone in a day can disinfect 600,000-700,000 square metres to maximum, a task would normally take 100 workers to complete. Also, with the ability to precisely control output, it consumes one fifth less disinfectant than traditional approach such as handheld spraying. However, drone has its limitations, unable to handle complex environment with high-rise blocks or corridors where small robots can easily fit in. XAG has launched the R80 agricultural utility vehicle for precision crop spraying, monitoring and transportation. Though originally designed as a farm robot, R80 can also be applied in various scenarios such as disinfection, using its 360° high-speed intelligent JetSprayer. With an 80 litres capacity and centimetre-level navigation system, such nimble unmanned device can traverse narrow spaces, automatically avoid obstacles and disinfect targeted areas from different angles, without dead ends. Application Scenario: Police Vehicle, Hospital and Kindergarten After rounds of research and field testing, XAG has been collaborating with government to carry out a series of ground air disinfecting demonstration at potentially coronavirus-hit areas, such as hospitals, industrial parks and schools. According to the standard operation procedure for aerial and terrestrial disinfection, high concentrated disinfectants are more effective on drone and robot spraying. When flung out from the drone nozzles or projected by the robot jet sprayers, disinfectant would be diluted with moisture in the air over time until it falls on the surface to create a virus-free environment. Drones can follow police forces and medical staff on duty to disinfect epidemic prevention vehicles moving between affected and unaffected areas. For example, on February 5, XAG worked with Tianhe Public Security Bureau in Guangzhou, China on testing of high-accuracy disinfection for police car. Simply marking out the boundary of the parking zone as well as the position of the vehicle on a high-definition map via mobile app, the operator remotely directed the drone to take off. The drone then automatically flied to the designated area, hovered over the car and sprayed disinfectant 3-5 metres above the roof. Result shows that 99.8% of the car surface area was covered in disinfectant agent. At the Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University (Lingnan Hospital), the first-ever ground air disinfection exercise took place a week later to empower frontline medical staff. XAG introduced its R80 robot, in collaboration with drones, to disinfect ambulance, quarantine area, and crowded passages. R80 could atomise the disinfectants into micron particles as small as 50μm, and spray as wide as 12 metres, which enabled better adherence and therefore improved the effect of disinfectants on hospital surfaces. Schools are also among one of the critical scenarios that might have a higher risk of coronavirus infection once the students return. With the help of local Emergency Management Bureau, XAG has conducted another disinfection demonstration using unmanned devices at Guangzhou LieDe Kindergarten on February 12. The R80 robot precisely executed the self-driving route that was pre-programmed on smartphone. First activated at the school gate and passing through playgrounds, halls and other public areas unobstructed, it constantly switched the directions of JetSprayer to implement three-dimensional disinfecting even on blind spots. Meantime, the drone was operating in open spaces to cover a wider outdoor area, including the garden and rooftop playground. In such places where lorry cannot access, the previous solution was to hire 4 to 5 workers to disinfect the entire kindergarten, which took hours to complete. But now with drones and robots working in synergy, disinfecting a total area of 7,836 square metres was done in only 5 minutes. The new coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019 and has now escalated as a global threat, with 50 countries worldwide reporting 83,310 confirmed cases and 2,858 deaths so far. At such critical stage, high tech companies should step out with their innovative solutions to address public fear and protect emergence responders at large.
2020-02-29 13:17