BASF invests in SmartAHC; specialist in artificial intelligence for animal husbandry

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20 July 2020, China / Germany: BASF Venture Capital is investing in SmartAHC, a leading supplier of digitalization solutions for pig farming on the Chinese market. SmartAHC was founded in 2014 by graduates of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The Shanghai-based startup provides customized digital solutions to increase efficiency throughout the pork value chain. Other investors include specialty chemicals producer Evonik and China’s Shenzhen Sinoagri E-Commerce.

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Through digitalization, husbandry operations can optimize labor productivity in the production process. For example, pigs can be easily counted, identified and observed at any point in time during the rearing and fattening process.

SmartAHC uses sensors, camera systems and artificial intelligence to collect and analyze various data in order to predict emerging issues.

Pig farmers can therefore continuously monitor the condition of their animals and take action promptly and efficiently; for example, by selectively administering medication, adjusting the feed or separating sick animals.

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Pig farming is an important market, especially in China. Global pork demand is around 1.4 billion animals per year, roughly half of which comes from China. In 2018, Chinese operations produced around 700 million animals. Pork is the most popular meat in China: Two-thirds of the meat consumed in the country comes from pigs.  

Transparency & Traceability

Since contact between humans and animals is considered a cause of the spread of disease in livestock. The Chinese pig farming industry has invested heavily in technologies that can reduce human intervention in the farming process. Furthermore, digitalized processes offer additional new opportunities for breeders and other players at an early stage of the value chain, e.g., reliable supply of pork to online butcher shops, higher product quality and food traceability.

“Our artificial intelligence uses the data collected in the pigsty to optimize processes; from breeding to finishing and slaughtering,” said Lan Song, SmartAHC’s CEO. “At the same time, consumers increasingly want to know where their meat comes from. Our systems can provide this transparency.”

“SmartAHC is a young company, but already has a keen understanding of the Chinese market and a good reputation among their customers in China,” said Markus Solibieda, Managing Director of BASF Venture Capital. “SmartAHC’s technology can contribute substantially to animal health as well as to economic optimization along the pork value chain.”

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