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AgTech Investments

UK based agtech firm secures £750,000 equity investment

Agtech venture Agxio has secured a £750,000 equity to support its ambitious growth plans. The £750,000 equity investment comes from a mix of existing investors and the Development Bank of Wales alongside match funding from new professional investors.

“We are delighted to be working with the Development Bank of Wales who were always our preferred key strategic partner for the company and our plans in Wales. Wales is a world leader in both farming and technology. We aim to bridge both of those skills to create innovation in the food supply chain both domestically and internationally.”

Agxio chief executive and co-founder, Dr Stephen Christie

Backed by a world-class team of data scientists, engineers, domain specialists, technologists and commercial entrepreneurs, Agxio manages two flagship platforms: Apollo & Centaur.

  • Apollo operates beyond-human-scale performance, enabling the robotic platform to evaluate critical data to produce predictive models to solve real world problems. It then optimises these to look for patterns or configurations of parameters that human modellers may not even consider or have the patience to develop.
  • Agxio’s Centaur incorporate artificial intelligence and the latest advances in data and agricultural science to encode and enable industry best practice for all practitioners within agriculture. Innovation, driven by forward thinking and rigorous, scientifically principled activity connects all producers and suppliers in one ecosystem.

Life sciences, biotech and agricultural industries have been dramatically transformed through the availability of large volumes of data through IoT innovation and advances in technologies. Through the use of Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Digital Innovation, we deliver actionable insights into these industries. We automate the data scientist and enable use cases in any complex data rich environment to deliver optimised machine learning solutions.

Agxio Industry Focus

The development bank’s equity investment from the Wales Technology Seed Fund will give them the potential to harvest the vast benefits that machine learning and data science can bring.

Read more at BusinessLive

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AgTech Investments

Israeli agtech startup Saturas has raised $3 million in Series B funding

Israeli precision irrigation system company Saturas has introduced the completion of first part of a Series B funding round of $3 million. The financing round was from former investors Gefen Capital and Hubei Forbon Technology alongside a new investor, the Trendlines Agrifood Fund.

“We believe that Saturas’ unique technology for measuring stem water potential is poised to change the way farmers manage their irrigation – providing a highly accurate method to reduce water use, at the same time as improving the quality of fruit. Our investment represents the fund’s commitment to investing in technologies that address food and agricultural production in a sustainable way, using innovative knowledge and a team with proven capabilities. Saturas checks all those boxes.”

Trendlines Agrifood Fund CEO Nitza Kardish

Saturas develops a Decision Support System (DSS) based on miniature Stem Water Potential (SWP) sensor that is embedded into the trunks of trees, vines, and plants. As part of an automatic irrigation system, the Saturas sensor provides accurate information for optimized irrigation in order to reduce water consumption and increase fruit production and quality.

“Following our expansion of sales and operations in the US through our California-based subsidiary, and in Europe, South America and China, this investment enables further market and sales expansion, and development of our production capabilities. We are working to complete the full funding round by the end of the year.”

Saturas CEO Anat Halgoa

Stem Water Potential (SWP) is a scientifically recognized, highly accurate parameter, for determining water status in crops. Saturas’ Stem Water Potential (SWP) sensing system automatically collects accurate data using a minimal number of sensors per hectare (1 – 2 sensors). It transmits the processed data to the central automated irrigation control system.

The technology tailors irrigation to real-time water needs of the crop, resulting in more efficient water use and increased yields, fruit size and sugar content (e.g., vineyards). Embedding the sensor into the trunk eliminates the common problem of damage to sensors placed in the soil or on the tree/vine. With direct and reliable information on crop water status, farmers can save water and increase yields.

Read more at Globes

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AgTech FoodTech

Attractive opportunities in Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture Market

Agriculture and farming is one of the oldest and most important professions in the world. Humanity has come a long way over the millennia in how we farm and grow crops with the introduction of various technologies. By 2050, the planet’s population is likely to rise to 9.7 billion, a rise of 2 billion from now. Along with increase in population, there is a substantial increase in the lifestyle. Those people will not only need to eat, they will want to eat better than people do now, because of higher incomes. However, only 4% additional land will come under cultivation by then.

In this context, use of latest technological solutions to make farming more efficient, remains one of the greatest imperatives. Farming is becoming a branch of matrix algebra. Farm operations involve a set of variables, such as the weather, soil’s moisture levels and nutrient content, competition to crops from weeds, threats to their health from pests and diseases, and the costs of taking action to deal with these things. If the algebra is done correctly, the yield gets optimised resulting in maximization of profit.

Agriculture is seeing rapid adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) both in terms of agricultural products and in-field farming techniques. While Artificial Intelligence (AI) sees a lot of direct application across sectors, it can also bring a paradigm shift in how we see farming today. The industry is turning to AI technologies to help yield healthier crops, control pests, monitor soil and growing conditions, organize data for farmers, help with workload, and improve a wide range of agriculture-related tasks in the entire food supply chain.

The overall AI in agriculture market is projected to grow from an estimated USD 1.0 billion in 2020 to USD 4.0 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 25.5% between 2020 and 2026. The market growth is propelled by the increasing implementation of data generation through sensors and aerial images for crops, increasing crop productivity through deep-learning technology, and government support for the adoption of modern agricultural techniques.

Markets and Markets

Recent Developments in AI in Agriculture include:

  1. South African agri-tech startup Aerobotics raised US$5.5 million in funding from Naspers Foundry. Cape Town-based Aerobotics, uses aerial imagery from drones and satellites, and blends them with machine learning algorithms. The startup’s cloud-based application Aeroview provides farmers with insights, scout mapping and other tools to mitigate damage to tree and vine crops from pest and disease.
  2. Insurance Australia Group has bought a multimillion-dollar stake in Digital Agriculture Services. Digital Agriculture Services is a rural technology company based in Melbourne. The company is applying machine learning and AI to develop rural data-powered solutions that transform the way rural assets are assessed, valued and monitored.
  3. Yanmar R&D Europe, with its European research facility based in Florence, Italy, focuses on a variety of field-based studies to bring added value to the agriculture industry. This include the two-year, four-million Euros ‘SMASH’ (Smart Machine for Agricultural Solutions Hightech) project being carried out in cooperation with 10 technology partners to develop a mobile agricultural ‘eco-system’ to monitor, analyse and manage agricultural crops.

Some of the companies active in AI in agriculture includes International Business Machines Corp., Deere & Company, Microsoft Corporation, Farmers Edge Inc., The Climate Corporation, Descartes Labs, Inc., AgEagle Aerial Systems, aWhere Inc., Gamaya Inc., Precision Hawk Inc., Granular, Inc., Prospera Technologies, Cainthus Corporation, Taranis, Resson Inc., FarmBot Inc., Connecterra B.V., Vision Robotics Corporation, Harvest Croo, LLC, Autonomous Tractor Corporation, Trace Genomics, Inc., VineView, CropX Inc., Tule Technologies Inc., Blue River technology, FarmBot and PEAT GmbH .

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AgTech Greenhouse

Hotraco Horti completed one of the largest agricultural greenhouse project

Hotraco Horti completed a large automation project in Egypt covering more than 1200 ha in 2020. It is seen as one of the largest agricultural greenhouse projects in the world. Hotraco Horti supplied complete automation for greenhouse climate and irrigation. The greenhouse project is an initiative of the National Company for Protective Cultivations (NCPC) and is located on an old naval base near the coast of Alexandria.

With this mega-project, consisting of 126 clusters of 6, 8, 10 or 12 horticultural greenhouses, each covering more than a hectare, Egypt is taking major steps towards self-sufficiency in food production and food security. For Hotraco Horti, the project was considered incredibly challenging and ground-breaking, in part due to its size and the tight schedule.

Hotraco Horti core business activity is in the regulation, control and monitoring of all greenhouse processes. They manage all major processes ranging from ventilation and climate control, irrigation- and water regulation, to management and energy distribution.

Read more at Hotraco Horti

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AgTech Research

Yanmar develops modular robotic platform for agriculture

Yanmar R&D Europe, with its European research facility based in Florence, Italy, focuses on a variety of field-based studies to bring added value to the agriculture industry. This include the two-year, four-million Euros ‘SMASH’ (Smart Machine for Agricultural Solutions Hightech) project being carried out in cooperation with 10 technology partners to develop a mobile agricultural ‘eco-system’ to monitor, analyse and manage agricultural crops.

SMASH project objectives include the development of a modular robotic platform that uses the latest information communications technology to examine crops and soils, analyse gathered information and provide clear, actionable information to farmers to support crop management.

Yanmar’s agro-bot is to be used to monitor and control crops, take soil samples for analysis and accurately target agricultural chemicals for precision application.

Agriculture in the future will see increasing use of scientifically precise farming techniques, where automated ‘agro-bots’ monitor, treat and work the land, using advanced technology designed to help maximise yields and minimise disease.

Read more at Ymedia

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Policy

Data driven agriculture leads to Sustainable Ag

Putting data to use requires an effective balancing of economic and social interests while minimizing trade-offs. Technologies like genetic modification, protected cultivation, automation help produce more food than we need to survive. The current food system, with its reliance on a handful of crops, is inadequate and unsustainable in the face of climate change and population growth. The United Nations warned that the current global food system is inadequate and unsustainable. Even farmers are being vilified by many—including those in the environmental, scientific and policymaking communities—as enemies of our planet, as indiscriminate polluters and wasters of our air, soil and water resources. 

To meet this challenge, the researchers proposed a two-step process. The initial step focuses on the design of a sustainable framework—with goals and objectives—guided and quantified by digital agriculture technologies. Implementation, the second step, involves increased public-private investment in technologies like digital agriculture, and a focus on applicable, effective policy. Policymakers must make use of digital agriculture to help drive policy including tax incentives and subsidies to support farmers working toward a more sustainable system.

It does no good to design a policy that the farmer will ignore.

Read more at Nature

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Uncategorized

Changing Agricultural Perspectives: ‘Agri at Heart’ to ‘Agri-Smart’

Agriculture is an important and sustainable contributor to Jamaica’s economic development. Its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 was 7.2 per cent. In the same year the sector was identified as the second-largest employer of labour, employing 15.1 per cent of the labour force. In fact, three out of every four farmers registered since 2016 is a youth farmer. The Jamaica 4-H Clubs, is promoting the concept of the Agri-Smart Farmer as a strategy to promote productivity and overcome the maladies of the sector.

The Agri-Smart Farmer is conceptualised as one who is cognisant of the threats affecting the agricultural sector, ready to embrace innovation and new technologies, open to explore the concept of food diversification, appropriately equipped to operate a viable agri-business, trained and ready to co-exist with climate change.

Read more at Jamaica Observer