The Strategist

Agriculture in Europe and the USA gives a boost to agricultural startups

02/27/2020 - 08:59

According to AgFunder, a specialized research company, investment in agricultural technology amounted to $ 19.8 billion in 2019, which is only 4.8% less than in the record year 2018. Experts note that agricultural technology startups not only attract multi-billion dollar investments, but also actively penetrate into the daily life of one of the most conservative sectors of the economy. So, farmers are increasingly using drones, mobile applications, robots and special satellite maps for their activities.

AgFunder’s report entitled AgriFoodTech 2019 notes that last year $ 19.8 billion was invested in the agri-food technology sector as a result of 1858 transactions and agreements. This is only $ 1 billion or 4.8% less than in the record year 2018 and significantly more than 2017 - $ 11.5 billion. At the same time, researchers note that the reduction in investments in agricultural technology in 2019 occurred against the background of a deeper decrease in global venture investments in general - by 16%, which was the result of trade wars between the USA and China, as well as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. In general, over the past five years, according to AgFunder, investment in the agricultural technology industry has grown by 250%.

The impressive growth of investments in new technologies in agriculture is already yielding practical results. According to EurActiv, in France alone there are about 250 technology startups working in this area. Smag software is used to work on 10 million hectares of French households.

Farmers use special applications and programs on smartphones and tablets to exchange information with each other, calculate the amount of seeds for sowing, the amount of irrigation depending on weather forecasts, calculate the optimal amount of fertilizer, track changes in the laws and other regulations of France in the field of agriculture.

The EU also runs a program under which the European Space Agency, using two special satellites, Sentinel 1 and 2, provides high-definition images of agricultural land with which you can understand the distribution of sown and vacant land, track crop growth, soil erosion and other information, which can help farmers make decisions about the next season.

According to the Financial Times (FT), new technologies in agriculture, in particular, are already actively used by winemakers. Portugal uses drone technology called VineScout. The UAV can fly around the vineyards and transmit information about the condition of plants and berries, the degree of soil moisture in different parts of the vineyard. Australian and American winemakers are not far behind European. For example, in Australia, the Platfarm mobile application allows integrating information from soil maps and data from sensors that monitor the state of the soil in a particular place into a single dataset. Thus, winemakers can understand what needs to be done on a particular plot of land - whether they need more or less watering, treatment from pests, more or less fertilizer, etc.