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AgTech Investments

Greeneye Technology, an Israeli AgTech startup closed a seed funding round of $7 million

Greeneye Technology, a leading AgTech company with a focus in precision agriculture, announced that it closed a seed funding round of $7 million, led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and participation from Syngenta Ventures, 2B Angels, One Way venture, Panache Ventures Techstars, and Hyperplane Venture Capital.

The company is based in Tel-Aviv, Israel and was established in 2017. The founders have been working closely as a team since 2004, after serving together in the Israeli Special Air Force Unit. Greeneye provides an alternative and sustainable solution for the current crop protection practice in order to meet the globally growing demand for food, while increasing the profitability and productivity for farmers.

We are thrilled to have JVP an international leading VC fund and Syngenta as a strategic and industry expert investors to help fuel Greeneye’s growth. Both our investors share with us the understanding that the way farmers spray chemicals in agriculture is about to be massively disrupted to a more efficient and sustainable manner.

Nadav Bocher, Co-Founder and CEO, Greeneye Technology

Greeneye utilizes artificial intelligence and deep learning technology to revolutionize the pest control process in agriculture, transitioning from the current practice of broadcast and wasteful spraying of pesticides to precise spraying in real-time. Greeneye’s proprietary selective spraying (SPP) system turns every sprayer into a smart machine with seamless integration, and saves up to 90% of the chemical cost.

Greeneye’s technology maps an entire field with cameras at a plant level resolution, offering a robust scouting solution for detecting and killing weeds. Currently, farmers worldwide spray their fields uniformly without distinguishing between crops, soil, and weeds.

Read more at PR Newswire

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AgTech Webinar

AgTech Webinar: Innovation and technology in food and farming

Globally we are fast-moving more toward a technologized society as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown in medicine, education and the way we work. Agriculture too is at the forefront of this revolution with a fledgling sector called agtech. Farmers challenged by climate change, labor shortage, water and land supply shortage and the depletion of arable land, have already been steadily turning to innovation and technology such as blockchain, automation and robotics.

Come join a special panel moderated by Amy Wu that will feature women entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to help farmers succeed. The panel and discussion will address questions including achieving a balance between technology and human labor, how innovation can solve food supply chain issues, and the ways technology is creating a potential paradigm shift in agriculture.

Presenters:

Pamela (Pam) Marrone spent her career focused on biologically based products for pest management; for the last 30 years in Davis CA, where she started and led three biological crop protection companies. She started Marrone Bio Innovations in 2006 to discover and develop bio-based products for pest management and plant health. The company was listed on NASDAQ in 2013 (MBII), has commercialized 10 products, and is growing rapidly. Pam received the “Sustie” Award from EcoFarm in 2019.

Martha Montoya is CEO and founder of AgTools, which she founded in 2017 as a food supply SaaS platform that provides real-time intelligence to farmers and buyers with the goal of reducing food waste globally. The platform takes into consideration over 75 different market variables from weather to transportation on over 500 different commodities to help growers better plan their crops. The company has 14 employees throughout five offices in the U.S., Mexico and Colombia.

Penelope Nagel is a 9th generation farmer, COO and co-founder of Persistence Data Mining Inc. (PDMI). PDMI is a private company that uses hyperspectral imaging for timely collection of soil data related to spatial variability of soil texture. PDMI has developed algorithms accurately estimating nutrient availability based on hyperspectral data, key to determining where and how much nutrients need to be applied.

Moderator:

Amy Wu is an award-winning writer for the women’s ag and agtech movement. She is the Founder & Chief Content Director of from Farms to Incubators, a multimedia platform that uses documentary, video, photography and the written word to tell the stories of women leaders and innovators in agtech. It has a mission of expanding the profiles of women in food, farming, and tech. The documentary and stories have been screened and presented at SXSW, Techonomy, the Forbes AgTech Summit, EcoFarm and The New Food Economy. Prior to starting From Farms to Incubators, Amy spent over two decades as an investigative reporter at media outfits including the USA Today Network, Time magazine, and she has contributed to The New York Times, HuffPost and Wall Street Journal. She reported on agriculture and agtech for The Salinas Californian in Salinas, Calif. She sits on the Diversity Advisory Committee of EcoFarm.

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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 Investments

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. This helps in early problem detection and offer personalised solutions to tree and wine farmers and optimise crop performance. 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.

Food security was of paramount importance, and the Aerobotics platform provided a positive contribution towards helping to sustain it. This importance has been highlighted further in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with agriculture considered globally as critical infrastructure

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, South Africa CEO at Naspers

Aerobotics uses drone flights to track tree health and size, using multispectral, high resolution drone imagery. This helps in identification of areas needing attention by a real time comparison with historical satellite health data, and make data driven decisions on the farm, using AI-based analytics platform. Aerobotics provide tools to make actionable decisions on the farm for

  • Orchard Management
  • Problem Tree Identification
  • Pest and Disease Management
  • Yield Management

Aerobotics has demonstrated success in the ability to collect and analyse tree and fruit-level information, which are critical to the agricultural industry. The services are very relevant to commercial-scale farmers and crop insurance companies who require accurate tree-level information about their clients.

Read more at Disrupt Africa.

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AgTech Investments

Insurance Australia Group has bought a multimillion-dollar stake in Digital Agriculture Services

Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) is the largest general insurance company in Australia and New Zealand. The Group’s businesses underwrite almost $12 billion of premium per annum, selling insurance under many leading brands. IAG, Australia’s largest general insurer, made the investment in Digital Agriculture Services (DAS) through its $75 million venture capital fund Firemark Ventures.

In April, Firemark Ventures also bought a stake in US start-up Arturo, which applies similar methods as those used by DAS – aerial imaging, AI, data analytics – to an urban setting, assessing risks to individual residential and commercial properties.

Digital Agriculture Services is a rural technology company based in Melbourne. The company was established in partnership with CSIRO, Australia’s national science and research agency, in 2017, with a mission to deliver reliable rural intelligence. 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.

Despite the importance of food and agriculture to our economy, rural data is patchy and fragmented; inaccessible or unintelligible; or simply not connected in a way that’s useful. Every day, business, policy makers and farmers are making decisions without reliable rural data or analytics. This lack of data not only means billions in decisions are being based on inaccurate, unreliable or incomplete data – it means agriculture’s risk profile is far higher than it should be.

Problem statement – DAS

DAS’ founders believe that by providing the most reliable rural intelligence possible, we can give today’s decision makers the data they need to make more informed decisions. Decisions that build competitive advantage, wealth and prosperity for all.

Read more at Financial Review

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AgTech Biotech

Precision injection system for plants

Oranges, olives, and bananas are already under threat in many areas due to diseases that affect plants’ circulatory systems and that cannot be treated by applying pesticides. A new method developed by engineers at MIT may offer a starting point for delivering life-saving treatments to plants ravaged by such diseases. The method uses an array of microneedles made of a silk-based biomaterial to deliver nutrients, drugs, or other molecules to specific parts of the plant. The work started in response to a request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for ideas on how to address the citrus greening crisis, which is threatening the collapse of a $9 billion industry.

The microneedles designed for human use were intended to biodegrade naturally in the body’s moisture, but plants have far less available water, so the material didn’t dissolve and was not useful for delivering the pesticide or other macromolecules into the phloem. The researchers had to design a new material, but they decided to stick with silk as its basis. That’s because of silk’s strength, its inertness in plants (preventing undesirable side effects), and the fact that it degrades into tiny particles that don’t risk clogging the plant’s internal vasculature systems.

The technology has potential to be used to bioengineer disease-resistant varieties of important crops. In experiments with tobacco the researchers were able to inject Agrobacterium to alter the plant’s deoxyribonucleic acid – a typical bioengineering tool, but delivered in a new and precise way.

Read more at MIT News

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Agriculture Strategy

Farmers to produce what the market wants

For the first time, the state government is going to regulate the production of crops in India. Farmers in Telangana are going to produce what the market wants. It’s a big move in the right direction and will set ground for a new beginning of Demand Driven Agriculture. This Kharif season, the farmers will be asked to grow paddy on 50 lakh acres (including the Telangana Sona variety on 10 lakh acres of land), cotton on 50 lakh acres and red gram on 10 lakh acres. Farm lands nearer to urban areas will grow vegetables and horticultural crops to tap the demand.

“One should cultivate crops which sell well. They don’t buy whatever you produce”.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao

Asking the farmers to strictly adhere to the cropping pattern, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has said that government sops such as ‘Rythu Bandhu’ (₹5,000 each for farmers in both the seasons for every acre they own) will be stopped to the farmers who don’t conform to the cropping plan.

Farmers base next years supply purely on the previous price and assume that next year’s price will be the same as last year (adaptive expectations). These fluctuations in price may cause some farmers to go out of business.

Limitations of Cobweb theory

As the government is attempting to go beyond advisory and extension roles, it will revamp the Department of Agriculture to take up additional responsibilities. The government will also bring in necessary amendments to the Seed Act.

Read more at The Hindu Business Line

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AgTech Investments

Yamaha Motor Ventures invest AUD $11 million into Australian AgTech, The Yield

The Yield Technology Solutions (“The Yield”), a leading Australian agricultural technology company, received investment of AUD $11 million, led by Yamaha Motor Ventures. Yamaha Motor Ventures is the strategic business development and investment arm of global technology organisation, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. The Yield is developing its proprietary digital application providing microclimate data and predictive insights to support critical production decisions for large commercial growers in the specialty crops industry.

“The Yield is poised to be The Climate Corp of horticulture and we look forward to supporting the team’s strategic plan to scale its data-driven solution to the global specialty crop market.”

Yamaha Motor Ventures 

The Yield works closely with produce growers to design their products and committed to solving real challenges – at farm level and throughout the food chain. They are on a mission to transform food and farming practices by building secure, scalable digital technology. The Yield’s Sensing+ combines sensors and analytics to provide information and predictions in easy-to-use apps that help large commercial growers make important on-farm decisions like when to irrigate, feed, plant, protect and harvest.

Read more at The Yield

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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

Agri-stratups overview in India

There are about 450 active agri-startups in India. They have received a venture capital funding of $545 million since 2014. This boom in the agri-startups space is creating a much needed ecosystem to bring digitisation and automation to millions of small and marginal farmers, who are suffering because of the inefficiencies of the old and bureaucratic system.

These startups or we can say the Agri Heroes, can be broadly classified in the following categories:

  1. Connecting farmers with buyers: Ninjacart, Jumbotail, Bigbasket, ShopKirana, SuperZop, WayCool, MeraKisan, Kamatan, DeHaat, KrishiHub, Agrowave, Loop, Crofarm, FreshoKartz, Agribolo, Himkara and Kisan Network.
  2. Quality assaying of agricultural commodities: Intellolabs, Agricxlab, Zense, Raav Tech, Occipital, Amvicube, AgNext and Nanopix.
  3. Addressing post harvest challenges: Our Foods, Agri Bazaar, Star Agri, Arya Collateral, Ecozen and Origo.
  4. Agricultural inputs and extension services: Agrostar, BigHaat, Behtar Zindagi, Unnati, Gramophone and Freshokartz, AgriBolo, DeHaat, Bharat Rohan and Bharat Agri.
  5. Mechanisation solutions for harvesting and sowing: Sickle innovations, Distinct Horizon, Tractor Junction, Khetibadi and J Farm.
  6. Data-driven irrigation models: Satyukt Analytics, Flybird, Kritsnam, Agrirain and Manna Irrigation.
  7. Crop monitoring solutions including credit and insurance: CropIn, SatSure, Farmguide, Niruthi, AgRisk, Skymet. Startups like Samunnati, FarMart, Jai-Kisan, PayAgri and Bijak.