NIA launches new platform to boost Thai agricultural startups with deep tech


The National Innovation Agency (NIA) has identified three emerging technologies in the agriculture industry: artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, and biotechnology. It has also initiated the AGROWTH platform to expedite the growth of deep-tech agricultural startups and foster partnerships with major farming businesses.

Thailand currently has 81 agricultural startups, with less than 15 focusing on deep technology. The investment in the agri-tech industry exceeds 1.7 trillion baht.

This year, NIA is promoting agricultural startups through its AGROWTH project, which is taking applications for startups using deep technology in agriculture with the potential to develop products or services, test real-world usage, and adapt business models to meet agricultural sector needs as well as collaborate with top companies in the agriculture sector.

Kritphaka Bunfueang, NIA director, said that based on data, Thai agricultural startups have raised approximately 2.5 billion baht from both domestic and foreign investors.

Though relatively modest, this amount indicates a slow and steady growth.

There are three deep technology trends worth noting that can serve as a guideline for future Thai startups:

NIA launches new platform to boost Thai agricultural startups with deep tech

Artificial intelligence

Using large-scale agricultural data for forecasting and creating new standards can help optimise water and fertiliser usage, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This technology is expected to grow to around 1.55 trillion baht by 2028.

Several Thai agricultural startups have won investment in this technology and one such startup is Easy Rice, which uses AI systems to inspect rice variety and grain quality. It has used AI in assessing more than 6 million tonnes of rice so far, and its usage is expanding to rice growers in neighbouring countries like Cambodia and Vietnam.

This has helped Easy Rice raise more than 66 million baht in investment from companies such as AI and Robotics Ventures Co, Ltd (ARV), Yip In Tsoi & Jacks Co Ltd, and Innospace (Thailand) Ltd.

Robots and automation

The shortage of labour has driven the demand for robotics and automation in agriculture to boost efficiency and reduce the use of chemicals, resulting in cost reduction and an increase in productivity. For instance, using drones to spray pesticides and fertilisers replaces manual labour, saving a lot of money.

Startups in agricultural robotics that have attracted government and private-sector support as well as investments from key investors and firms, include HG Robotics.

This company develops robots and automated management systems and has attracted investment from True Digital Group. It is the first Thai company to meet global standards in the production of agricultural drones and robotics.

HG Robotics has also produced “Tiger Drone”, an autonomous flight software in the Thai language to ensure secure and accurate data collection.


The need to protect the environment and food safety has made advanced biotechnology a much-needed tool in agriculture and for addressing various challenges. For instance, it can prove to be very efficient in combating pests, drought and creating new plant varieties. The global investment value of agricultural startups applying biotechnology is estimated at 85.80 billion baht.

Thai agricultural startups have capitalised on this technology segment, such as UniFAHS with its SalmoGuard, which destroys Salmonella bacteria in the digestive systems of poultry, thus replacing antibiotics and chemicals.

With more than 15 years’ experience in Phage technology, which targets specific bacteria, UniFAHS is working to address problems in the poultry farming industry, both in Thailand and overseas.

The company won the BioTech Innovation Award at the world's largest startup competition, Global Finalists 2022, and is now expanding into aquaculture with up to 53 million baht in investment from ADB Ventures, Innospace (Thailand) Limited, and Innovation One Fund.

AGROWTH 2024 is open for startups using deep agricultural technology based on research and development in AI, robotics, automation systems, IoT (internet of things), VR (virtual reality) technology, biotechnology, and other advanced technologies to address agricultural sector challenges. Applications can be sent to [email protected] until May 10.

NIA launches new platform to boost Thai agricultural startups with deep tech