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Editor’s note: Hebrew-language business newspaper Calcalist featured Nitza Kardish and portfolio company Saturas in their supplement on agricultural technologies.
By Keren Zuriel Harari, Calcalist (13 October 2016)
R&D in ‘Orange Season’: High-tech has matured and goes to work in the field
Artificial intelligence, Big Data systems, advanced photo capabilities and learning algorithms. … Calcalist accompanied agronomists and high-tech entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of the hot field of precision agriculture.
Growing as Much as Possible with as Little as Possible
Welcome to the wonderful world of ‘precision agriculture,’ where we are promised an abundance of fresh, clean produce; the fruits of the labor of robots and artificial intelligence, without the help of scarecrows.
Every presentation and analysis related to precision agriculture starts with data quoted at the UN: By 2050, the world population will reach 10 billion. In order to feed everyone, food production will need to be 70% higher than at present. ‘And there are other problems besides the need for food.’ says Dr. Nitza Kardish, CEO of Trendlines Agtech, ‘the field of agriculture is not profitable; farmers do not want their children working in agriculture; the main resource, water, is limited; today we understand that it is not possible to use too many fertilizers and pesticides because they harm the environment. To cope with these problems we need to work more efficiently brings us to the issue of precision.’
The New Water God Is a Computer
The field of irrigation is one of the richest in innovative solutions, with wide/respectable representation by Israeli companies. The Israeli start-up [and Trendlines portfolio company] Saturas, for example, developed a sensor that is implanted in the plant stem. It checks the water level and relays the information to the automatic irrigation controllers, which then work accordingly.
Nitza Kardish adds an anecdote emphasizing that even if we provide farmers with iPads, we can’t take away their love of the earth. ‘Once, I met with a farmer in an orchard near Rosh Pina to show him technology. He said ‘very interesting, very sophisticated, but the tree is influenced only by one element — the shadow of the farmer.’ I told him, ‘there will be a sensor, and you can come and visit it.’
Read the full article (Hebrew).