Tal Maor, CBO and Founder of Viridix, reveals just how efficient and beneficial their precision irrigation system and Root Sensors are. In a nutshell, Viridix generates accurate soil moisture data, creates actionable insights, and sends timely irrigation alerts directly to the app or operates the irrigation autonomously according to the farmer’s preferences.
My partners, Arik and Mor, first came up with the idea of creating a material that would imitate the roots of plants. The first product was entirely different from what we’re doing today and was actually for home gardens and autonomous drip irrigation.
When we started working on the development and business model, we realized that it would be far more beneficial to target agriculture as this would have far more of an impact. Agriculture consumes 70% of the world’s water and we knew that this was where we wanted our revolution to take place! We changed our product accordingly and were given three government grants thanks to the uniqueness of our technology.
One of the most important things that we’ve done since the beginning is to convince different farmers from all over the world to come on board, try the technology, and have an open conversation about the offering.
We have more than a thousand farmers around the world working with us now, and we’ll more than triple this number this year. It’s a very exciting revolution that’s taking place in this “old” industry.
Definitely. The ability to really understand the plant and, more importantly, easily implement any irrigation protocol (in scale) that the farmer desires is something that’s very unique. When you understand the core problems faced by farmers - and I myself am a farmer – you understand that it’s not simply about the technology but about how easy it is to use the technology.
Another revolution is that when you’re imitating nature, you create something that can really work. The uniqueness of the RooTense is that it imitates the roots of the plant, but this is combined with traditional technologies they already use with a unique new business model. This is where the true revolution comes in.
We found that when reaching out to farmers and explaining our technology, they weren’t very keen to come on board. However, in order to increase the value for the farmer, the best way was to combine our product with the old technology that they already have.
We partner exclusively with companies that already have some kind of technology in the field. We, therefore, increase their value and they help us, in turn, reach more farmers.
In addition, our confidence in our product is very high, so by using this method, we’re lowering the initial barrier farmers have when adopting new technology. Farmers don't need to invest a lot of capital because of these partnerships and then by the end of the first year, their perceived value is so high because of the amazing outcome and results yielded.
I’m a farmer, so I understand that every farmer in the world needs everything to be user-friendly, regardless of the size of the land they’re farming. This doesn’t mean that farmers can’t understand or deal with sophisticated technologies, it simply means that everything must be simple to use for the day-to-day functioning of the farm.
This is the magic of the Viridix. It starts with the core technology - our sensors - the first in the world which require no calibration and no maintenance. You simply install them and get the data. The communication system also requires no maintenance and just needs to be planted in the ground.
The software is built with layers, so the farmer doing their day-to-day business can simply focus on the dashboard that they need to see. If the agronomist needs to see more data they can scroll down to see the desired information. For the farmer, the default screen just gives the facts needed for the day-to-day operations.
There are many companies from around the world that are involved in agricultural technologies, but I think that segmentation in agriculture makes place for different solutions. For example, there are solutions for orchards and greenhouses and then there are others for growing crops. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, some companies haven't made it.
For high value and permanent crops, and this is my objective opinion, we definitely offer the best solution from a technical and business model point of view – by far.
Years! But this is irrelevant for the farmer as the farmer pays an annual fee, and gets a whole solution. It’s our responsibility to make sure that everything is working properly. The farmer need only worry about the day-to-day responsibilities.
The farmer doesn’t have to work for the technology, the technology will work for the farmer. We’re here to help the farmer and we’re just providing another tool to make life easier and to increase profits.
The idea behind Viridix is the variety of soil, in every field. In any field, regardless of size, there are different types of soil. Every segment of the field needs to be irrigated with different quantities of water.
What’s important to us is the return on investment (ROI) for the farmer and we ensure that this happens.
We are crop agnostic and can work with all of them, but we prefer to work with high-value crops (orchards, greenhouses, vineyards, berries) because this is where we can ensure the best ROI for farmers and make the biggest impact.
Agriculture is an old and conservative industry. Globally we need to produce more food with fewer resources. We have two major issues.
First, globally we need to be more efficient and produce more food with less land, less water, and fewer fertilizers. This is one reason why farmers need to adopt new technologies to be more efficient.
Secondly, in most industries, huge global corporations can more easily adopt new technologies and increase their efficiency. This usually leads to the shutting down of the smaller companies.
I think it’s important for every farmer to use new technologies so as not to find themselves in this position and get left behind. Technologies need to be modeled for the smaller to medium-sized farmers. However, these technologies such as Viridix are out there, and farmers need to get their minds around adopting them to keep up with the times.
I see a bright future for agriculture technologies and definitely for Viridix solutions!