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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

Categories
AgTech Biotech

MicroGen Biotech has raised $3.8 million to ensure better food safety and soil health

MicroGen Biotech has raised $3.8 million (€3.47 million) in a funding round led by a number of top US and European agtech investors. MicroGen Biotech is an Irish biotech startup company founded in 2012 by Dr. Xuemei Germaine and a spin-out of the Institute of Technology Carlow. It utilises patented isolation and high-throughput screening methods to isolate functional, high-performance microbiomes for application in agricultural crop production and environmental remediation.

It has a large database of microbes for degrading/immobilising a range of targeted pollutants from soil and for promoting plant growth. Its proprietary microbiome technology blocks the uptake of heavy metals by crops on land that has been contaminated.

MicroGen Biotech focuses on the global market in the Agri-Cleantech sector with specific target market in China. One fifth of Chinese arable land is polluted and stressed, the country has put in place a national safe food and clean soil program to reduce heavy metals. The China Soil Pollution Control Law 2019 encourages the prioritization of bioremediation measures to prevent pollutants from entering food crops.

MicroGen Biotech focuses on three major solutions:

  1. Environmental Bioremediation: Bioremediation is a treatment process that uses microorganisms (including bacteria) and plants to degrade toxic contaminants into less toxic or non-toxic substances.
  2. Plant Growth Promotion: A critically important component of the soil/plant microbiome are Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria or PGPB. Application of PGPBs to crop plants have been shown to significantly increase crop yield when used in low input agricultural systems.
  3. Stressed Agricultural Soil: Stressed soil can be a major inhibitor of agricultural production and globally represents a considerable loss in potential crop yield. Stresses can be biotic (e.g. plant pathogens and insect pests) or abiotic (e.g drought, salinity, heavy metals).

Read more at CarlowLive

Categories
Trade

Similar to FedEx, Fruit Express shipping line launched

“Fruit express” shipping line for Southeast Asia was officially launched on April 27, 2020 at Dalian port in Liaoning province by China COSCO Shipping Corp. The first vessel for the Dalian route, the CSCL Santiago, unloaded 565 tons of dragon fruit imported from Vietnam at the Dalian container terminal. With the new route, various kinds of fruit imported from Vietnam can be shipped from Ho Chi Minh City to Dalian in just seven days, three to five days shorter than other Southeast Asian routes to the port.

Read more at ChinaDaily

Categories
Aeroponics

Aeroponics: growing plants in an air or mist environment

Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or other medium. The basic principal is to grow plants in a closed environment by periodically spraying roots with a nutrient rich solution. The obvious benefit to aeroponics is the volume of plants that can be grown year-round on a limited amount of space. Once established, the aeroponics system can be adjusted to grow anything from greens to berries and tomatoes by simply adjusting the inputs. The lack of soil also affords a disease-free environment. For example,

  1. AeroFarms, the front-runner aeroponics company, have the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the world, located in Newark, New Jersey. AeroFarms’ claims to use up to 95% less water and zero pesticides vs. traditional field farming. AeroFarms has grown over 800 different varieties of crops and sees potential even beyond food production to extend to other verticals like pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, and nutraceutical.
  2. In developing countries like India and China, Aeroponics technology is majorly used for mini-tuber (potato seed) production. This results in 7 to 10 times mini-tubers production from in-vitro plantlets as compared to cultivation under net house conditions.

The potential of the technology can be understood from the fact that, The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, has launched a targeted incentive programme to accelerate the growth of the emirate’s burgeoning (AgTech) ecosystem and promote innovation. The packages are being dispersed as part of ADIO’s AED1 billion (US$272 million) AgTech Incentive Programme, established a year ago to develop next generation agriculture in arid and desert agriculture. The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, has partnered with AeroFarms to focus on next-generation genetic phenotyping and organoleptic research while also tackling the challenges of desert agriculture from its new 8,200-sqm R&D centre in Abu Dhabi.

Categories
Food Security

Being rich is no longer a guarantee that you will be able to get the food supply you want

From the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, price rises and food shortages have fueled conflict, toppled leaders and overthrown regimes. In this COVID-19 pandemic, countries may face an excruciating trade-off between saving lives or livelihoods or, in a worst-case scenario, saving people from the corona virus to have them die from hunger. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and oil-exporting countries may be severely affected as they are net importers of food with populations that are dependent on income from remittances and tourism.

Yuan Longping, the Chinese agricultural expert, said China is completely able to achieve self-reliance in terms of grain production but said the COVID19 pandemic serves as a warning for those who are lax on food security. The coronavirus has done more than disrupt supply chains, it’s restarted a discussion about self-sufficiency tinged with nationalism. A lot of countries have introduced restrictions on overseas sales of grains or rice since mid-March, which serves as a wake-up call to governments.

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Uncategorized

A2 Milk: attempts to premiumize the once-commoditized product

Conventional milk contains two main types of beta-casein protein, A1 and A2; the former is believed by many consumers and health care professionals to affect digestive health and possibly cause heart diseases and diabetes. This is where a2 Milk attempts to premiumize its brand. Australia-based The a2 Milk Co. Ltd. engages in the commercialization of A1 protein-free milk and related products. In order to do so, the company starts with specially selected cow that are not affected by the natural genetic mutation leading to the production of milk containing A1 proteins.

According to management, a2 Milk captures the leading value share of 6.4% in the fast-growing Chinese infant nutrition market. At the same time, a2 Milk has become the top premium milk brand in Australia with an 11.2% value share. As of fiscal 2019, the company had approximately 16,000 stores (up 64% year over year) for distribution in China and 13,000 (up 161% year over year) in the U.S.

Read more at GuruFocus

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Uncategorized

USDA Authorizes Importation of Fresh Citrus Fruit from China

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is authorizing the importation of five types of commercially produced fresh citrus fruit from China into the continental United States. After thorough analysis, APHIS scientists determined that pummelo, Nanfeng honey mandarin, ponkan, sweet orange, and Satsuma mandarin fruit from China can be safely imported into the United States under a systems approach to protect against the introduction of plant pests. A systems approach is a series of measures taken by growers, packers, and shippers that, in combination, minimize pest risks prior to importation into the United States.

Read more at PerishableNews.com

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Uncategorized

Coronavirus could lead to renegotiation of US-China trade deal

The United States and China reached agreement on Phase One of a new trade deal late last year, but with spring planting just weeks away and the COVID-19 pandemic tightening its grip on the global economy, farmers are wondering what to expect in the marketplace and how it might impact the terms of the trade deal. Based on the terms of the agreement, China agreed to buy $12.5 billion in U.S. agricultural products in 2020, and $19.5 billion more in 2021. However, recent world events have caused uncertainty as to when those shipments will begin, and whether the targets will be met. Now that coronavirus is on the U.S. side, as well as the Chinese side, the question is whether China drops out of the deal all together or modify the agreement to compensate for the current conditions.

Read more at Farm & Ranch Guide