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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.

Categories
AgTech Biotech

Mycocycle, Inc. selected as finalist in the Best World Changing Idea NA, Experimental, and General Excellence categories

The winners of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards were announced on April 28, 2020, honoring the businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to flattening the curve when it comes to the climate crisis, social injustice, or economic inequality.

Mycocycle, Inc.: Converting Waste Streams into Value Streams has been selected as a finalist in the Best World Changing Idea NA, Experimental, and General Excellence categories.

Now in its fourth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 26 winners, more than 200 finalists, and more than 500 honorable mentions—with Health and Wellness, Corporate Social Responsibility, and AI and Data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent judges selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 3,000 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, and more. The 2020 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Vancouver to Singapore to Tel Aviv.

Illustrating how some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and companies are addressing grave global challenges, Fast Company’s May/June issue celebrates, among others, an electric engine for airplanes that eliminates emissions from flights—and expensive fuel from the tricky financial calculus of the airline industry; a solar-powered refrigerator that finally frees people in remote villages from daily treks to distant markets, transforming the economics of those households; an online marketplace that connects food companies with farms to buy ugly and surplus produce to fight waste; and an initiative to offset all of the carbon costs of shipping, creating a new model for e-commerce sustainability.

“I am honored and stunned to have Mycocycle recognized in one category, let alone three,” says Joanne Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Mycocycle. “We have been working hard to shift the narrative on viewing trash as a resource to drive a more circular solution to waste management. Our ‘mushroom’ tech mimics nature’s processes in a controlled environment to do just that. If we don’t drive innovation in this field, we will continue to face a growing issue that is harmful to environments worldwide.”

Joanne Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Mycocycle

“There seems no better time to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, resources, and, in some cases, their scale to tackle society’s biggest problems,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists, under the leadership of senior editor Morgan Clendaniel, have uncovered some of the smartest and most inspiring projects of the year.”

About the World Changing Ideas Awards: World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With a goal of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

For more information about the company, please contact: Joanne Rodriguez, joanne@mycocycle.com, Founder/CEO, Mycocycle, LLC

Categories
Food Safety Trade

India allows in-transit cold treatment for Australian Fruits

The Indian government has announced market improvements to allow in-transit cold treatment of Australian top fruit, summer fruit and table grapes. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says India’s approval of in-transit cold treatment of a variety of fruits is a major breakthrough for Australia’s growers. This approval to use in-transit cold treatment is expected to boost export volumes of Australian fruits such as table grapes, apple, pears and summer fruits.

The internationally accepted commercial cold treatment requirement for fruit flies is a minimum uninterrupted fruit pulp temperature and exposure time combination. The minimum cold treatment temperature for fruit flies in grapes, pears, plums and nectarines destined for India is 10 days at or below 0,0°C (32°F). For Ceratitis capitata, Mediterranean fruit fly, the treatment schedule is -3°C or below for 20 days and for Bactrocera trying, Queensland fruit fly, the treatment schedule is -3°C or below for 16 days.

Manual of Importing Country Requirements, Australia

The main benefit of cold treating products as it is transported, it gets to the market quicker and the exporter can charge a premium based on increased freshness. India offers a massive market of young, health conscious and vegetarian consumers seeking high quality fresh and safe fruit and vegetables. In 2019, Australia exported to India $830k worth of table grapes, $352k apples and pears and $180k summer fruit.

In addition to this, Indian government also approved phosphine fumigation of malting barley. Fumigation using phosphine will save industry up to $10 per tonne exported compared to treatment with methyl bromide. There has been growth in the consumption of beer in India and Australia is known worldwide for its high-quality malting barley. The Indian malt market is estimated at 500,000 tonnes, worth over $100 million dollars, and it is anticipated Australia could gain a fair proportion of that market in 2021.

Read more at Australian Government Media

Categories
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

Categories
Food Loss/Waste

National Environment Agency, Singapore, launched a S$1.76 million food waste fund

The National Environment Agency (NEA) launched a S$1.76 million (US$1.26 million) food waste fund as part of its efforts to tackle climate change. The fund aims to help organisations subsidise the cost of installing food waste treatments solutions. Capped at S$100,000 (US$70,000) per applicant, it will cover the capital cost of waste treatment systems, accompanying equipment like bin lifters and any improvements to existing infrastructure. Companies, non-profit organisations and condominium management bodies can apply for it between May 18, 2020 and Feb 28, 2021.

Food waste accounts for about 10 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore and its recycling rate remains relatively low.

Singapore’s inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan maps out Singapore’s key strategies to build a sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-resilient nation. This includes adopting a circular economy approach to waste and resource management practices, and shifting towards more sustainable production and consumption.

Zero Waste Masterplan aims to reduce waste sent to landfill each day by 30 percent by 2030. It also outlines plans to achieve a 70 per cent overall recycling rate by 2030. The plan sets targets for food waste, electronic waste, packaging waste and research and development.

Read more at CNA

Categories
AgTech Blockchain

Blockchain for Food and Agriculture

Blockchain is an emerging technology allowing universal transactions among distributed parties, without the need of intermediaries. Blockchain is not a single technology but uses a combination of technologies that have a considerable history in computer science and in commercial applications like public/private key cryptography, cryptographic hash functions, database technologies especially distributed databases, consensus algorithms, and decentralised processing. Blockchain could pave way for a transparent supply chain of food, by facilitating the sharing of data between disparate actors in a food value chain.

Despite huge positives of the technology and the great interest it has received from public and private parties in general, some critical questions like accessibility, governance, technical aspects, policies, data ownership and regulatory frameworks need to be addressesed for its mass adoption.

Some common ways in which blockchain is applied in food and agriculture value chains are

Supply Chain Traceability: It enables companies to quickly track unsafe products back to their source and see where else they have been distributed. This can prevent illness and save lives, as well as reducing the cost of product recalls.

Example: Aglive – An Australian livestock tracking platform, has completed a pilot that monitored shipments of beef to China using blockchain. The pilot saw cattle tracked from Macka’s cattle farm in regional New South Wales to an abattoir located in the same state. From there, frozen beef products were tracked across the supply chain as the meat was transported by land freight interstate to Queensland, and then shipped to Shanghai — ensuring that the products were stored under safe conditions throughout transit. The products were then distributed to grocery stores in Shanghai.

Agricultural Commodities Trade: Commodities management involves deal documents, contracts, letters of credit, supply chain finance, traceability and government certifications. Blockchain is enabling these data management challenges and payment time lags.

Example: AgriDigital – A blockchain-based and integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry.

Digital Marketplace: Digital marketplaces allow buyers and growers to connect directly, increasing the amount of profits that go to the farmers, and investors to invest directly into farms producing commodities and then trade on that investment.

Example: Twiga Foods Ltd – The company, buys fresh produce from 17,000 farmers and processed food from manufacturers and then delivers it to 8,000 vendors, most of whom are women.

Categories
Food Safety Supply Chain

It’s not the food supply chain that’s breaking, it’s the meat supply chain

Supply lines across the food industry have been impacted by the coronavirus. Shuttered restaurants, university dining halls, workplace food providers, and more have all strained the food supply chain. In particular, the meat industry has suffered the hardest hit. In addition to closures of many of its largest purchasers, COVID-19 outbreaks inside meatpacking facilities have forced largest meat processing plants to shut down. The cold, damp conditions and crowded workstations in meatpacking plants make infectious diseases particularly hard to control.

On April 26, Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest U.S. meat processor, closed at least six major plants. Similar covid-19 outbreaks were reported at Danish Crown A/S, a huge pork producer; Goikoa, of Spain; Sanderson Farms Inc., America’s third-largest poultry producer, and Cargill’s High River slaughterhouse outside Calgary. The whole situation is an incontrovertible nightmare. But the pandemic is an opportunity to ask more probing questions about the nature of our system of animal agriculture.

Since COVID-19 began, we’ve seen plant-based product sales growth exceed that of animal-based products, both in meat and dairy categories. In the United States, sales of vegan meat jumped by a staggering 280% and sales of oat milk jumped by 477% in the second week of March compared to the same period last year, as the country became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. This meat crisis has become a big opportunity for plant-based protein companies that have developed healthier, safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional animal products.

Choosing a plant-based diet is one of the best things you can do for the environment as plant-based diets are kind to the earth and kind to animals. As is the case with plant-based meat, plant-based dairy supply chains are much better poised to respond in real-time to changing market conditions and are not vulnerable to the type of disruptions inherent in industrial animal agriculture.

Categories
AgTech FoodTech

AgriFood Category Definitions

  1. Ag Biotechnology: On-farm inputs for crop & animal ag including genetics, microbiome, breeding, animal health.
  2. Agribusiness Marketplaces: Commodities trading platforms, online input procurement, equipment leasing.
  3. Bioenergy & Biomaterials: Non-food extraction & processing, feedstock technology, cannabis pharmaceuticals.
  4. Farm Management Software, Sensing & IoT: Ag data capturing devices, decision support software, big data analytics
  5. Farm Robotics, Mechanization & Equipment: On-farm machinery, automation, drone manufacturers, grow equipment.
  6. Midstream Technologies: Food safety & traceability tech, logistics & transport, processing tech.
  7. Novel Farming Systems: Indoor farms, aquaculture, insect, & algae production.
  8. Innovative Food: Cultured meat, novel ingredients, plant-based proteins.
  9. In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech: Shelf-stacking robots, 3D food printers, POS systems, food waste monitoring IoT.
  10. Restaurant Marketplaces: Online tech platforms delivering food from a wide range of vendors.
  11. eGrocery: Online stores and marketplaces for sale & delivery of processed & un-processed ag products to consumer.
  12. Home & Cooking Tech: Smart kitchen appliances, nutrition technologies, food testing devices.
  13. Online Restaurants & Meal Kits: Startups offering culinary meals and sending pre-portioned ingredients to cook at home.
  14. Cloud Retail Infrastructure: On-demand enabling tech, ghost kitchens, last mile delivery robots & services
  15. Miscellaneous eg. fintech for farmers

Source: AgFunder AgriFood Funding Report

Categories
AgTech FoodTech

Top AgTech and FoodTech Startups

AgTech and FoodTech are on the cusp of next era of productivity and environmental conservation while reducing food waste, improving carbon sequestration, improving water quality, and increasing renewable energy. Below is the glimpse of exceptional companies who are pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology.

These 100 innovative AgTech and FoodTech companies are categorised in 10 broad categories on the basis of specific problems addressed by them.

  1. Crop Nutrition, Health & Protection: AgBiome, Benson Hill Biosystems, BioConsortia, Biome Makers, Ginkgo Bioworks, Inari, Pivot Bio, Trace Genomics, ZeaKal, NewLeaf Symbiotics, Plant Response, Provivi, Semios, Terramera, Vestaron, Zymergen, Indigo Agriculture, Fieldin, Biotalys, Taranis, and TerViva.
  2. Farm Management & Forecasting: Arable Labs, Agrosmart, CropX, Growers Edge, PrecisionHawk, Resson, Solinftec, The Yield, Agworld, Bushel, CropIn, Farmer’s Business Network, Farmobile, Orbital Insight, Prospera Technologies and AgriWebb.
  3. Environmental Impact & Waste: MagGrow, Bowery, BrightFarms, Infarm, AeroFarms, Gotham Greens, Plenty, Enterra, Afresh, FoodMaven, Full Harvest, Lactips, TIPA, AgriProtein, Winnow, and WISErg.
  4. Labor: FarmWise, ecoRobotix, Robotics Plus, Bossa Nova Robotics, and Soft Robotics.
  5. Animal Nutrition & Health: Advanced Animal Diagnostics, and Stellapps.
  6. Food Quality & Safety: Ancera, Hazel Technologies, CMS Technology, Label Insight, Tastewise, Apeel Sciences, and Clear Labs.
  7. Storage, Transportation & Distribution: BluWrap, TeleSense, and Farmer’s Fridge.
  8. Traceability: FoodLogiQ, ICIX, IdentiGEN, and SafeTraces.
  9. Trade: Ninjacart, ProducePay, Brightloom, and Crowd Cow.
  10. Novel Foods & Ingredients: Good Catch, Imperfect Foods, Impossible Foods, JUST, Miyoko’s, Ripple Foods, Soylent, Sunfed meats, Clara Foods, DouxMatok, Epogee, Future Meat Technologies, Geltor, Hinoman, Innovopro, Manus Bio, Memphis Meats, MycoTechnology, Noblegen, Nuritas, Perfect Day, and Protifarm.

Source: SVG Ventures THRIVE Platform

Categories
Fisheries

Fish skin leather: artisans and designers are breathing new life into the tradition

Fish skin leather used to be commonplace in many cultures. As practical and pervasive as the material was, the practice of making fish skin leather faded in the 20th century. Its loss is intertwined with colonialism and assimilation. Now, it’s making a comeback. Fish skin leather is also emerging as a commodity in the world of fashion; in recent years, the material has caught the eye of designers who want to incorporate it into luxury items.

Commercial interest in fish skin leather is partly a result of consumers’ environmental and ethical concerns about the global leather supply chain. Most conventional leather like snakeskin and alligator skin is produced using harsh chemicals, such as chromium salts, which cause respiratory ailments and persistent skin ulcers in tannery workers.

Making fish skin leather is a gentler process than making conventional leather. It requires fewer harsh chemicals. Fish skin is a byproduct of the food industry that often goes to waste. Every tonne of filleted fish amounts to about 40 kilograms of skins. Fish skin leather is thin but remarkably strong because its fibers crisscross.

The revival of fish skin leather is more than the rediscovery of a craft. In a time of environmental crises, using local resources to their full extent may be an idea worth reviving.

Read more at Hakai Magazine