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AgTech Weekly Recap: Funding Milestones, Organic Standards, and Innovations in Farming

Your Weekly Guide to the Innovations and Trends Shaping the Future of Agriculture Technology

Welcome to this week's edition of the AgTech Weekly Recap. This newsletter delves into the most crucial developments in Agriculture Technology.

From groundbreaking Memorandums of Understanding to critical funding milestones and legislative steps, we bring you comprehensive coverage that keeps you informed and engaged.

This Week’s News

At the AgraME exhibition in Dubai, Priva Horticulture and The Farms™ announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The partnership emanates from extensive dialogues, mutual visits, and expertise-sharing between the two organizations. The Farms™ is set to develop a one-of-a-kind ecosystem to address food security and food waste. Priva will be responsible for overseeing the climate control and irrigation systems of these innovative farms. Additionally, end users will have access to Priva Academy, an educational platform to optimize system usage.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is enhancing its food offerings by partnering with 80 Acres Farms and Paradies Lagardère. The collaboration focuses on delivering fresh, locally sourced, and pesticide-free food to travelers. Featuring a range of fresh salad kits, the initiative not only satisfies the need for healthy dining options but also adheres to sustainability goals through the use of efficient vertical farming technologies.

A 2023 study by Zhang et al. utilized Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to investigate optimal CO2 enrichment in strawberry greenhouses. The study's key finding was that a CO2 concentration of approximately 500 μmol mol−1 maximizes energy use efficiency. While limited to short-term CO2 enrichment scenarios, this research lays a foundation for more comprehensive studies that will consider variable conditions throughout the day.

Moolec Science has secured approximately $30 million in funding, including a convertible note of around $21 million from Grupo Insud and a supply agreement for 15,000 tons of HB4® soybeans from Bioceres Crop Solutions. This new capital will enable Moolec to speed up its R&D projects, fulfill its commercialization plans, and continue its mission to overhaul animal-based food production sustainably.

Zordi, an agtech startup, has secured $20 million from Khosla Ventures for its innovative approach to autonomous greenhouses. Utilizing AI and robotics, Zordi aims to cut labor costs by 80% and make greenhouse farming both scalable and cost-efficient. With its second greenhouse operational in New Jersey, Zordi's ultra-sweet strawberries have received favorable reviews from retail partners.

Australian agtech firm Agronomeye has been awarded a $750,000 Accelerating Commercialisation grant to enhance its AgTwin™ digital twin platform. The grant will be used to create a companion app and enhance reporting capabilities, aiding a wide array of stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain.

A group of bipartisan representatives has unveiled the "Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act (CIAO) 2023". The legislation, which has received widespread support, aims to review and revise national organic standards every five years to facilitate continuous improvement and innovation.

South Korean food and beverage giant Nongshim is set to invest 10 billion won ($7.4 million) in venture funds focused on food technology. Stonebridge Ventures and IMM Investment are the Seoul-based firms chosen to administer the investment, aiming to nurture startups that can disrupt the traditional food value chain.

Bayer has launched a Direct-Seeded Rice (DSR) system to reduce water usage by up to 40% and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45%. The system is part of Bayer's broader approach to regenerative agriculture and targets support for two million smallholder rice farmers in India by 2030. Initial results from the DirectAcres program in India show a 99% success rate in plant establishment and a 75% increase in ROI. Bayer plans to expand the program to other rice-growing countries in the Asia Pacific, beginning with the Philippines in 2024. The initiative also involves partnerships across the agricultural value chain, including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Yara International reported a significant decline in its EBITDA for the third quarter of 2023. The EBITDA, excluding special items, stood at $396 million, marking a 62% drop from $1,001 million in the same quarter last year. The company’s net income also plummeted to $2 million, compared to $402 million in Q3 2022.

Eiwa and Sentera have embarked on a collaborative journey, marking a significant stride in the AgTech industry. Today, both companies announced a distribution agreement, paving the way for Eiwa to license a curated selection of drone analytics technology from Sentera. This technology is set to be a game-changer for Eiwa’s clientele, allowing them to gather diverse measurements throughout the farming season efficiently.

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