Categories: News

Gland, Switzerland and Durham, UK, 15 April 2024

In a groundbreaking development, an Anglo-Swiss consortium has secured a €750,000 grant to propel the advancement of plant-driven farming technology. This innovative project aims to revolutionize agriculture by enabling fruit trees and vines to communicate their water and fertilizer needs directly to farmers.

The grant, awarded by cooperation between Innosuisse – Swiss Innovation Agency and Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will fund a collaborative effort between farmers, technology companies, crop advisory companies and research institutes. This will fuel research and development to create a sophisticated AI-interpretation system where plants play an active role in optimizing their growth conditions. By establishing a communication network between the plants and farmers, this technology is set to enhance efficiency, reduce resource usage and promote sustainable farming practices.

“We are thrilled to receive this substantial grant that will drive our efforts to pioneer a new era in agriculture.” said Carrol Plummer, Vivent’s CEO, representing the consortium.

“Our vision is to empower farmers with real-time insights from the very plants they cultivate, fostering a symbiotic relationship between agriculture and technology.”

The plant-driven farming initiative addresses critical challenges faced by the agricultural sector, such as water conservation and precise resource management. By harnessing the natural abilities of plants to signal their nutritional requirements, farmers can make informed decisions, optimize yields and contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to farming.

“Receiving alerts to crop stress prior to visual symptoms should enable farmers to take action when, and only when, needed. We are excited about the possibilities to learn more about how our plants respond to stresses and to improve our operations” commented James Simpson, Managing Director at Adrian Scripps.

As the consortium embarks on this transformative journey, the grant serves as a testament to the collaborative spirit and commitment of both the UK and Swiss governments towards advancing innovation in agriculture. The groundbreaking technology is expected to have a profound impact on the global farming community, paving the way for a more resilient and resource-efficient food system of the future.


ARBORICROP is a collaborative effort between Adrian Scripps Ltd, Vivent Biosignals, Benchmark Electronics, Hutchinson, NIAB, ECAL and Changins working towards the development of cutting-edge technology in agriculture. The €750,000 grant from the UK and Swiss governments will support the consortium’s mission to create a plant-driven farming system that revolutionizes resource management in agriculture.

Adrian Scripps (Kent, UK) one of the UK’s premier growers and packers of English fruit. Sustainably farming 750 hectares on specially selected sites across Kent makes us one of the UK’s largest growers of Apples, Blackcurrants and Grapes.

Benchmark Control Ltd (Durham, UK) An established electronic product design company with complete capability from concept development to production.

CHANGINS – Haute école de viticulture et œnologie (Nyon, Switzerland) CHANGINS is the Swiss national competence centre for the higher education of the vine and wine trades and arboriculture and is affiliated with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland (HES-SO).

ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne (HES/SO), Switzerland, was founded in 1821 and is affiliated with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland.

Hutchinsons Crop Production Specialists (Cambridge, UK) With many farming clients, representing over one million hectares, Hutchinsons are a leading agricultural and horticultural input advice and supply company. Founded in 1938, Hutchinsons remains a family business and now employs over 440 staff nationwide, with more than half directly involved with client-facing agronomic relationships.

NIAB (Cambridge, UK) The NIAB Group is one of the UK’s largest crop science and research organisations. The NIAB East Malling site (Kent, UK) specialises in horticultural research, and hosts numerous research orchards and vineyards. It’s world-famous facilities have been supporting the apple industry for more than 100 years in all aspects of crop production.

Vivent Biosignals (Vivent SA, Gland, Switzerland) is a deep tech start-up contributing to more sustainable food systems giving plants a voice by interpreting their internal biosignals.