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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
Milk

Consumer preference for Milk in Europe and America

Americans prefer chilled milk, while Europeans store their milk outside the refrigerator. The difference arises due to different taste/ flavor preferences of consumers and the pasteurization technologies used by dairy industry in these two geographies. Pasteurization, here means, heat-treatment process that destroys pathogenic microorganisms in certain foods and beverages.The treatment also destroys most of the microorganisms that cause spoilage and so prolongs the storage time of food.

In the U.S. and Canada, milk manufacturers use high-temperature short-time pasteurization, or HTST. HTST is efficient but results in milk that expires relatively quickly—usually within a week and requires storage in a refrigerator. That’s because the temperature used (about 161°F for 15 seconds) is enough to kill most bacteria, but some will proliferate if the milk hangs around long enough.

In Europe, another technique called ultra-heat-treated pasteurization, or UHT, is used. Milk is exposed to higher temperatures of 284°F for three seconds, decimating virtually all the bacteria and making it shelf-stable for a couple of months if left unopened. (Once opened, it has to be refrigerated.) Because it’s “cooked” at high heat and burns off some of the sugar, UHT milk also has a slightly different flavor.

Read more at MentalFloss

Categories
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

Categories
Trade

European Commission warns against shift towards protectionism in agri-food sector

Uncertainty about food availability sparked a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market. Countries across the EU are increasingly considering protectionist measures, promoting national agri-food products and discouraging imported products. There has been a sequel of instances across the EU, particularly in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Austria, Greece, where concerned ministers urged either to increase consumption of local products or to stop the import and sale of fruits and vegetables until locally grown supplies are exhausted.

That has prompted the European Commission to express concern about the effect this would have on the free movement of goods and services in the internal market, knowing the fact that no member state has the capacity to meet all its own needs for all products. The European Commission is “urgently addressing intra-EU export bans and restrictive measures by member states,” and could resort infringement proceedings against non-compliant member states.

Now is not the time for restrictions or putting in place trade barriers. Now is the time to protect the flow of food around the world.

Read more at Euractiv

Categories
Policy

European Commission announces exceptional measures to support the agri-food sector

The Commission is taking swift action and proposes additional exceptional measures to further support agricultural and food markets most affected. The package includes measures for private storage aid (PSA) in the dairy and meat sectors, the authorisation of self-organisation market measures by operators in hard hit sectors and flexibility in fruits and vegetables, wine and some other market support programmes.

Exceptional measures announced as a further response to the Coronavirus crisis include:

  1. Private storage aid: the Commission proposes to grant private storage aid for dairy (skimmed milk powder, butter, cheese) and meat (beef, sheep and goat meat) products. This measure will lead to a decrease of available supply on the market and rebalance the market on the long-term.
  2. Flexibility for market support programmes: the Commission will introduce flexibility in the implementation of market support programmes for wine, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, apiculture and the EU’s school scheme (milk, fruits and vegetables). This will allow the reorientation of funding priorities towards crisis management measures for all the sectors.
  3. Exceptional derogation from EU competition rules: applicable to the milk, flowers and potatoes sectors, the Commission will authorise the derogation from certain competition rules. For example, the milk sector will be allowed to collectively plan milk production and the flower and potatoes sector will be allowed to withdraw products from the market.

Such agreements and decisions would only be valid for a period of maximum six months. Consumer price movements will be monitored closely to avoid adverse effects.

Read more at European Commission

Categories
Intellectual Property Rights

Geographical Indications: Economic impact on agri-food products

As defined by WIPO, a geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production. Similar to GI, European Union also protects Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG), highlighting the traditional aspects of a product, such as traditional production methods or traditional composition, without being linked to a specific geographical area.

A study published by the European Commission, which collected the economic data from each of the 3,207 GI protected products from across the EU, found that GIs represent a sales value of €74.76 billion. The sales value of agricultural products and foodstuffs labelled as TSG were found to be worth €2.3 billion. Out of the 3,207 product names registered as either GI or TSG in 2017, 49% were wines, 43% agri-food products and 8% spirits drinks.

It concluded that the sales value of a product with a protected name is on average double that for similar products without a certification. This is due to the high quality and reputation of these products and a higher willingness of consumers to pay for authentic products. Example of GI include champagne, which is produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France.

Categories
Uncategorized

How Satellites Can Improve Decision-Making For Agricultural Investments

USDA information about crop supply and demand estimates is fundamental to both policy-makers and agricultural investors. Nevertheless, the current situation with markets and crops is changing faster than USDA report releases, especially with the uncertainty around coronavirus pandemics. The uncertainty caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 reinforces the need for reliable, precise, politically neutral, and promptly available data for investors.

Here’s where digital tools can come in handy.

Geospatial intelligence, supply-and-demand estimates, crop tours, experimental plots, direct contact with grain producers are among the most effective ways to gather much-needed data. Agricultural investing is entering in the ‘remote prediction’ era where the one with superior AI tools has the edge. This is where satellite technologies can close informational gaps – and do it faster than once a month.

Read more at Investing.com

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Uncategorized

European vegetable producers are asking to open the Russian market for export

The Association of European Fruit and Vegetable Manufacturers (Eucofel) called on the European Commission to open export to the Russian market. An open letter asking to resume dialogue with Russia was signed by representatives of the fruit and vegetable sector of Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Portugal. In addition, producers of fruits and vegetables are asked to introduce temporary support measures for producers, which would guarantee an adequate level of product prices, restore market balance and eliminate violations.

Now Russian counter-sanctions, restricting the supply of certain types of agricultural products from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, Norway, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Ukraine, apply to almost all types of vegetables and fruits, with the exception of potato, onion, pea and corn, as well as frozen and dried vegetables imported for the production of baby food.

Read more at Potato System

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Uncategorized

Natural alternatives to plastic – trays made from sugarcane pulp

Baggase trays, a natural alternative to plastic trays are made from sugarcane pulp, also known as bagasse. These trays are certified home compostable to Australian and European standards. The tray can take shrink wrap and flow wrap and it can also be heat-sealed which means using much less plastic for sealing. Biopak, the company behind this innovative product, developed them in close consultation with fresh produce growers and packers. There are a lot of market forces in play for the development of these trays which includes sustainability targets and legislative changes but the biggest one is consumer attitude, now more than ever, consumers are looking for more sustainable choices.

Sugarcane pulp, the raw material for manufacturing of baggage trays, is derived from sugarcane. It is a by-product of sugar manufacturing, so it’s primarily a use of waste product to make something new and sustainable from it. The sugarcane pulp is pressed under high pressure with steam so it gets a very tight surface making it moisture repellent and it can be used in both chill and ambient environments, it can be frozen, oven-heated and microwaved.

Read more at FreshPlaza