Agritask, which was founded in 2010, has produced a dedicated platform that consists of different modules bringing together ‘all your agricultural data’ into a ‘comprehensive’ yet ‘easy to use’ system. The platform can integrate with over 40 hardware and software data sources, including John Deere, Airbus, IBM and SAP.
This enables the tech company to support the food and beverage sector’s supply chain management back to a farm level resulting in ‘higher profitability’ and ‘better supply chain management’, according to Ofir Ardon, CEO of Agritask.
“We often find that the alternatives to our solution are either no solution at all or ad-hoc in-house solutions. As such, we believe that the value-add of a dedicated, user-friendly platform such as ours will be enormous,” he told FoodNavigator.
Traceability, food safety and improved efficiency
Ardon explained that this granular level of visibility offers a number of benefits to Agritask’s food and beverage industry customers. These range from improving on-farm efficiencies to stronger traceability and food safety.
“For example, with visibility over the growers at plot-level, our clients can give more targeted agronomic advice to optimise the use of farm inputs.
“For yield prediction, our clients digitise field data and automate yield prediction models on our platform. This enables them to plan harvest logistics and additional sourcing if needed.
“For traceability, our clients can achieve higher food safety and environmental standards. If there are problems with certain batches, they will know where the problems lie and where else may be affected.
“In the long term, our clients build a structured database across different farms, can benchmark yield and quality, and accelerate the learning curve and can automate a lot of processes.”
Ardon says this capability is necessary to met elevated consumer expectations around transparency. “We see that there is increasing consumer awareness for food safety and sustainability, and this requires the ability to trace back to the fields where food is produced in the first place.
“Our solutions enable resource optimisation and accountability in the production process.”
Agritask works with various stakeholders, from food companies to research institutes and agricultural insurers. “Food sector clients often use our platform for monitoring planting progress, giving agronomic advice, predict yield, managing harvest logistics and implementing traceability from field to factory. Our clients in this sector include global names such as General Mills,” the chief executive revealed.
The technology can be applied to a ‘diverse range of crops’ ranging from orchard fruits like apples, to perennial crops like coffee and field crops, such as potatoes, corn and rice. Agritask is a ‘crop-agnostic’ platform and has worked with over 50 crop types, Ardon noted.
The food tech innovator stressed the need to boost global production across the agri-food sector in order to meet the needs of a growing population. “In the global context, with the growing population and growing demand for food, farmers need to better utilise their existing resources and improve productivity significantly from today's average of about 60% of fields' potential.”
'A new generation of precision agronomy'
Agritask, which has been operating in bootstrap mode until recently, has completed an $8.5m Series A financing round, led by the InsuResilience Investment Fund and co-invested by Barn Investimentos.
The InsuResilience Investment Fund was set up on behalf of the German government by KfW and is managed by Swiss-based impact investment manager BlueOrchard Finance. Barn Investimentos is a Brazilian early stage VC Investor focusing on high growth companies in ag-tech and in other industries.
With proceeds from the financing round, Agritask plans to grow its customer base and step up investment in research and development.
The vast volume of agronomic data accumulated in Agritask’s platform will lead to the development of new techniques for optimising crop growth models and agro-economic decisions, the company predicted.
Looking to the future, Ardon revealed: “We plan to use approximately half of the funds for further R&D. Among other things, our clients can expect to see more remote sensing solutions (such as auto plot detection for smallholders using satellite), enhanced user interface and BI capabilities (such as ability to flexibly aggregate various parameters from plot level), and more functional modules (such as dedicated materials & inventory management).
“The data-driven insights generated by our system create an opportunity to build a new generation of precision agronomy tools that we’re only beginning to understand… We intend to push the boundaries of data analytics in agriculture.”