The AgriTech Enablement Paradox
Feeding the planet while protecting the environment - it's what the food and ingredients industry has been working towards for the last 5 years, at least.
But does this mean that traditional agriculture has no place in our supply chains?
As the world's population is expected to increase to over 9 billion people by 2050, and arable land is decreasing by 100,000 hectares per year.
It's almost creating a single solution to a global problem.
Yet, there's hope...
AgriTech companies that are making a real impact, at pace!
AgriTech refers to incorporating technology into agricultural practices to increase productivity and earning potential. While it is most often used in agricultural crops, agri-tech may also be found in wineries, forestry, and aquaculture sectors too.
AgriTech seeks to address a range of issues in the agriculture industry. For instance, by using vertical farming techniques, agricultural processes may be made more efficient. By growing crops vertically and often inside, vertical agriculture uses less space, water, labor, chemicals, and machinery than conventional agriculture. This allows for greener, year-round manufacturing closer to home and unaffected by weather or resource limitations.
But vertical farming is only the tip of the iceberg.
Here's my top 10 agritech companies...
Total funding: $1.2b
Indigo improves producer profitability, sustainability, and consumer health using natural microbiology and digital technology. Indigo's strategy is centred on the bacteria that have evolved with plants over billions of years to improve their health and production. Farmers profit from increased agricultural productivity, while consumers benefit from fundamental improvements in producing food.
Total funding: $59.6m
Taranis is an agricultural intelligence platform that monitors farms using computer vision, data science, plus deep learning algorithms. Taranis' innovative technology can identify early signs of weeds, uneven emergence, nutritional deficits, disease or insect infestations, water damage, and equipment difficulties.
Total funding: $38.5m
Tropic Biosciences is a frontrunner in creating revolutionary high-performance commercial tropical crop cultivars and features. Tropic Biosciences' unique non-GMO gene-editing methods seek to boost producer well-being, consumer health, and sustainable environmental practices.
Funds raised: £32.2m
WeFarm is an online platform that connects small-scale farmers to exchange information and earn a stronger position in global supply chains. WeFarm's pioneering technology, which over 2 million farmers now utilize, enables them to join for free and take advantage of a global marketplace.
Funds raised: £106m
Biocleave produces biological reagents for various uses, particularly in agriculture. It aspires to expedite R&D in the life sciences industry and is at the forefront of research to develop non-pathogenic Clostridia as a recombinant protein expression host. It has recently introduced custom protein expression services for customized projects with corporations and academics.
Funds raised: £56.0m
Intelligent Growth Solutions combines agricultural and technical knowledge to provide technical answers to some of the world's most serious problems, such as climate change. The Greentech business has effectively redefined agriculture by developing indoor vertical farming technology that enables producers to generate microclimates for each crop.
Funds raised: £29.1m.
Fischer Farms is a vertical farming company that develops hydroponic containerized agriculture systems. The agri-food firm cultivates a wide variety of short-leaf crops, including lettuce and parsley, and is entirely powered by renewable energy. Its next steps are to increase innovation around some of the least sustainable yields worldwide, including soy and rice, at competitive pricing.
Funds raised: £50.0m
Eider Vertical Farming specialises in vertical farming for food production, using controlled indoor settings to cultivate pesticide-free and locally produced fruits and vegetables. As a result of EVF's use of agricultural technology, plants may develop more quickly and with more excellent quality. The government wants to promote food safety and security by preventing climate change and addressing food shortages.
Funds raised: $640.1M
Apeel is a biotech firm that provides a plant-based approach for prolonging shelf life. According to the manufacturer, their invention can keep vegetables fresh for twice as long as standard packing. Apeel boasts having salvaged over 61 million goods from going to trash - which is rather impressive!
Funds raised: $449.5M.
GreenLight Biosciences is a plant and life sciences firm that creates RNA-based products. They specifically provide tailored biocontrols using their unique "GreenWorX" technology to protect crops from pests.
It's clear as day that there are some incredible technologies being made available to the agricultural sector, allowing it to grow and thrive without killing the planet.
Farmers are no longer required to regularly apply water, fertilizer, and pesticides over whole fields. Alternatively, they may utilize the bare minimum, target exact locations, or even treat plants individually. From a basic standpoint AgriTech is enabling:
Increased agricultural production
Less usage of water, fertilizer, and pesticides results in lower food costs
Natural habitats to be less impacted
Reduced chemical discharge onto rivers and groundwater
All of this is great news for our planet!
The agricultural sector is and will continue to be unpredictable. As a result, the ideal outcome for farmers would be for start-ups to continue riding the funding wave and solving genuine issues rather than perceived ones or issues that simply sound "cool" to the uneducated investor.