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Contxto – Latin America’s largest farm exhibition, the 26th annual Agrishow, wrapped up last week in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil. Located just outside of São Paulo, agrotech startups from Brazil and abroad gathered from April 29 to May 3 to showcase the latest technological trends in the agriculture industry.
The trade show introduces new tech services and equipment to stakeholders from around the world. As expected, the goal is to increase productivity as well as inspire innovation among agriculturalists. Around 159,000 people from 88 countries attended to see over 800 brands.
“Its a deluge of tech services and solutions,” said Sérgio Rocha, CEO of AgroTools, whose company is planning on raising US$25 million in the next 90 days. Rocha’s startup began 10 years ago to dissuade corporations from extracting raw materials in deforested areas of Brazil. Past partners include McDonald’s, Walmart and Nestle.
Visiting startups develop products to assist farmers in effectively using technology to evaluate crops and make adjustments accordingly. The results are better agricultural yields, and therefore, more revenue.
One of the most prominent guests was Prime Field. The Brazilian startup recently finished installing 80 WiFi mobile bases for Bunge Açúcar e Bionergia (the sugarcane and ethanol branch of Bunge Ltd.) on May 2. Prime Field has contracts with France’s Tereos and biofuel company, BP Biocombustíveis SA.
“They need to connect their cane harvesters during the crop, to improve logistics, and since there is no internet coverage in most of the fields they use our remote bases for WiFi,” said Prime Field founder, Francisco Mello, who is currently seeking investment partners.
At the end of the day, Brazil couldn’t have been a more appropriate place to hold such a gathering. According to Agrishow’s website, the South American country has around 251 million hectares of arable land.
Out of this, 66 million hectares (26 percent) goes to crop cultivation while 185 million hectares (74 percent) is allocated for pastures. It also happens to be the world’s largest producer of coffee, sugar and orange juice.
Ultimately, agriculture industries and entrepreneurs have ample opportunities to launch operations in Brazil. I just hope there was as much discussion about conserving the Amazon rainforest or curbing deforestation as there was innovation.