Israeli agritech startup Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture has completed field trials in almond orchards in Israel using its mechanical pollen harvesting and pollination system
The field trials are crucial for advancing the company's planned entry into the almond market in California. The trials resulted in a substantially increased yield in Israel.
Edete has tested its technology in Australia and proved its ability to produce high-quality viable pollen.
Towards an alternative pollination solution
There has been a decline of nature’s pollinators, namely insects and specifically honeybees, that together with some other shortcomings of the good old bee has led to an intensified search for a solution to solve the challenge facing farmers who need to grow more fruits. This challenge must be met in order for more food to be produced to meet the needs of the world’s growing population.
About 75 per cent of the world’s crops rely on insect pollination for yield and quality. Without an alternative pollination solution to reduce the dependency on honeybees in the coming years, food prices might climb sharply and supply might not meet the growing demand.
Larger commercial-scale testing of Edete's new system is expected to continue in Israel and Australia. The company plans to begin a pilot programme using the technology in 2022 in California, the world’s largest almond growing region.
“We are initially focusing our efforts on almonds, but our game-changing technology has huge potential for a wide range of other crops as well,” said Eylam Ran, CEO and co-founder at Edete.
The global almond market is estimated at more than US$7bn annually, while 80 per cent of it is in the USA, most of which is in California. Costs are rising, as growers spend on beehive pollination services over US$400mn per season. “We will be targeting top tier producers in California, where seven per cent out of 7,400 growers account for more than half of the cultivated area,” noted Ran. The market structure is much the same in Australia.
Edete's chairman, co-founder and one of the seed investors in the company Ori Inbar noted, “The transformation that Edete hopes to bring about in the world of plant pollination will be no less revolutionary than what artificial insemination using frozen semen brought to dairy farming.”