AgTech This Week: Bangladesh $56M AgTech Centre, Growmark's Partnership On Innersoy Pilot & More
Discover this week's latest developments from the world of agriculture technology!
Welcome to this week's edition of the Investments & Funding newsletter. We bring you the latest and most significant news in agricultural technology investments, funding, and strategic partnerships. This week's highlights include major funding approvals and initiatives in Europe and North America, strategic collaborations in the agtech sector, groundbreaking product launches, and critical financial updates.
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These developments reflect the ongoing efforts to strengthen agricultural technology globally, focusing on sustainability, innovation, and efficiency. Let's delve into the details of each major development.
Investments & Funding This Week
EU Approves €500M for French Agricultural Growth
The European Commission has recently approved a French scheme aimed at strengthening investments in agricultural holding companies. The main focus of the scheme is to address the challenges of food production and climate change adaptation. The initiative offers direct grants, loans, tax advantages, and more to small and medium-sized agricultural holding companies, large hatcheries, and local/regional authorities.
The scheme is in line with the Common Agricultural Policy's goals of fostering an intelligent, resilient, and diversified agricultural sector, prioritizing environmental protection and animal welfare. The Commission recognizes the scheme's 'incentive effect' which encourages investments that might not occur without public support, thus balancing economic sustainability with minimal market distortion.
The approval of the scheme follows the 2022 Agricultural Guidelines for State aid in agriculture and forestry. This ensures compatibility with EU objectives and minimal taxpayer burden. Overall, the scheme offers comprehensive support to the agricultural sector with a focus on sustainability, benefiting a diverse range of stakeholders.
GIFS at USask Receives $56M for Bangladesh Agtech Centre
The Government of Bangladesh has made a major funding commitment of $56.2 million towards a new research initiative involving the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan and the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC). The focus of this funding will be to establish the Bangabandhu-Pierre Elliott Trudeau Agriculture Technology Centre (BP-ATC) in Bangladesh, which will enhance crop research and train over 30 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. The partnership between GIFS and BARC aims to address climate change impacts and enhance food security in both Bangladesh and Canada. The name of the BP-ATC reflects the strong historical and cultural ties between Canada and Bangladesh.
AgroSpheres Banks Expansion of $25M Series B
AgroSpheres, a renowned leader in sustainable crop protection, has successfully raised $25 million in its Series B funding round. The funding was provided by a number of prominent investors, including FMC Corporation, a major player in agricultural sciences. AgroSpheres has developed a cutting-edge technology that promises to revolutionize crop protection by precisely delivering active ingredients.
This innovative technology has the potential to transform global agricultural practices by offering sustainable solutions. The partnership between AgroSpheres and FMC Corporation aims to enhance these sustainable solutions and expand their reach worldwide. This investment is expected to drive innovation and have a positive impact on global agriculture.
Partnerships & Other Deals
Organifarms Announce Strategic Partnership With EBZ Gruppe
Organifarms has announced a significant collaboration with EBZ Gruppe, forming a strategic partnership in agricultural technology. The focus of this partnership is to scale the production of harvesting robots, which are aimed to provide a solution to critical issues faced by the horticultural sector such as labor shortages and rising costs. The involvement of EBZ Gruppe as a strategic partner and investor is essential for Organifarms' continued development. In this regard, Organifarms would like to express its gratitude to its supporters, including Oliver Kraft, Rentenbank, L-Bank, Staatsbank für Baden-Württemberg, and Rockstart.
AMAZONE and FieldView Collaborate to Advance Smart Farming
AMAZONE and Bayer's FieldView have joined forces to promote smart farming through a strategic collaboration. The primary objective of this partnership is to establish better connectivity between FieldView's digital tools and AMAZONE's precision agricultural machinery. The ultimate aim is to help farmers benefit from improved data recording and analysis, which will enable them to practice more precise and efficient farming. The collaboration has already produced some recent advancements such as enhanced documentation of variable fertilizer applications and seed drill technology compatibility. FieldView and AMAZONE are also planning to capture additional data layers, such as weather data, to further optimize agricultural efficiency.
Acuity Brands Acquires Arize® From Current
Acuity Brands has recently acquired the Arize® family of horticulture lighting products from Current Lighting Solutions. This acquisition is aimed at improving and expanding Acuity's offerings in the controlled environment agriculture market. As a result of the acquisition, Acuity has partnered with Hort Americas, which will continue to be the exclusive distributor of Arize products in North America. The partnership with Hort Americas aligns with the leaders in the commercial greenhouse space, making it a strategic move for Acuity. The deal is expected to close by January 2024, following which, the Arize products will be integrated with Acuity's VerjureTM series.
GROWMARK Partners with InnerPlant on InnerSoy Pilot
GROWMARK, Inc. has teamed up with InnerPlant to conduct a commercial pilot of InnerSoy, the world's first soybean fungal detector. InnerPlant genetically modifies plants to emit optical signals when they experience stress due to insufficient water or nutrients, or when they come under attack from pathogens such as fungi.
By utilizing specialized equipment like drones or satellites to detect these signals, farmers can receive early warnings and take necessary measures to protect their crops.
In 2024, GROWMARK will establish small InnerSoy plots throughout the Midwest, close to existing soybean farms, to detect early signs of fungal infections in plants. The data collected from these pilot plots will be used by InnerPlant's machine-learning tools to enhance agronomic intelligence, thereby aiding farmers in safeguarding and improving crop performance.
Lavie Bio Expands Yalos™ to Durum and Barley
Lavie Bio Ltd., a subsidiary of Evogene Ltd., has expanded its microbiome-based product, which is now rebranded as Yalos™ (formerly Thrivus™). This expansion includes Durum and Barley, which has enlarged its market potential. The field trials conducted in the US in 2023 demonstrated a significant yield increase of over 7% on average in durum and barley crops treated with Yalos™, leading to enhanced crop production. Yalos™, a seed treatment, boosts crop yield by improving soil nutrients, minimizing environmental stress, and enhancing overall production. The expansion increases Yalos™’s addressable market in the US and Canada by about 40%. The product showed an 86% success rate in trials, outperforming industry standards. Yalos™ harnesses two natural microbes discovered through Lavie Bio’s BDD platform, powered by Evogene’s MicroBoost AI tech engine, ensuring high performance and cost-effectiveness.
Yara Introduces New Biostimulant
Yara International has recently launched a new biostimulant brand called YaraAmplix. The brand has been introduced to address the agricultural challenges that have arisen due to the negative impact of climate change on global temperatures. Biostimulants are known for their ability to enhance crop resilience and nutrient efficiency. This has made them an important tool in the push for regenerative agriculture, which aims to contribute to climate, soil health, and biodiversity. YaraAmplix is set to be released in China, Brazil, and France initially, with plans for further global expansion.
Stock Market & Other Financial Results
CNH Industrial Rating Upgrade By S&P Global
On November 30, 2023, S&P Global Ratings made the following credit rating changes for the company and its subsidiaries:
Long-term issuer credit ratings for CNH Industrial N.V. and CNH Industrial Capital LLC were raised from ‘BBB’ to ‘BBB+’.
The short-term issuer credit rating for CNH Industrial N.V. and CNH Industrial Capital LLC was affirmed at ‘A-2’.
Issue-level ratings on CNH Industrial N.V. and its industrial subsidiaries’ debt were raised from ‘BBB’ to ‘BBB+.’
Issue-level ratings on CNH Industrial Capital LLC’s senior unsecured debt were raised from ‘BBB’ to ‘BBB+.’
These rating changes indicate an improvement in the creditworthiness of CNH Industrial N.V. and its subsidiaries. They are expected to positively impact their ability to access capital markets and secure funding at lower costs.
Auga 9-Month Ending Reflects Financial Performance Challenges.
AUGA Group, AB reported sales revenues of EUR 59.93 million for the first nine months of 2023, which indicated a 4% growth as compared to the same period in 2022. However, the group faced certain challenges, including a gross loss of EUR 1.87 million in 2023, which was a significant drop from the gross profit of EUR 13.14 million reported in the same period in 2022.
Similarly, the Group’s EBITDA for the same reporting period was EUR –1.22 million, which was way lower than the EBITDA of EUR 16.78 million reported in 2022. The main reason behind the financial performance challenges was identified as the falling purchase prices for organic products. In order to mitigate the risks and improve its financial performance, AUGA Group, AB, plans to use regenerative conventional farming methods on a portion of its land, which will help diversify market risks, and reduce yield and income volatility.
ADM’s Inaugural Regenerative Agriculture Report
ADM's regenerative agriculture program has been gaining momentum, covering over 1 million acres and aiming to expand to 4 million by 2025. The program has made a significant impact in reducing carbon emissions, sequestering 115,500 metric tons of CO2 and reducing CO2e emissions by 253,000 metric tons in 2022. Through strategic partnerships with companies such as PepsiCo, Nestlé, and technology partners, ADM continues to enhance its impact on regenerative agriculture. ADM also integrates Indigenous land management principles and adapts to local conditions in its innovative approaches to sustainable agriculture. Looking towards the future, ADM is committed to furthering its sustainability efforts, with a focus on the COP28 event and expansion into Brazil.