Ministry gives 32 most promising ag-tech startups their day in the sun

Selected companies will get more access to state money and be showcased to investors looking for innovation in agriculture

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative image of irrigation in a field (YouTube screenshot)
Illustrative image of irrigation in a field (YouTube screenshot)

Thirty-two “outstanding startups” in the field of agricultural technologies have been selected by the Agriculture Ministry for increased access to government funds and for showcasing to local and foreign investors,

A list of the 32 companies will be available on the Agriculture Ministry’s website, on show for “potential investors from Israel and around the world,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The companies focus on such areas as biotechnology, robotics and mechanization, plant protection, business systems for agriculture, aquaculture, animals, software and sensors, and IT solutions.

The selected companies include Trellis, which uses artificial intelligence to track the fruit and vegetable supply chain from field to the supermarket shelf.

CropX, a company that computes the exact amount of water required in various parts of fields by analyzing soil structure and moisture content, thus saving farmers money on irrigation, was also selected by the ministry.

A CropX sensor in the field (YouTube screenshot)

Groundwork BioAg, a startup that develops fungus-based inoculant for commercial agriculture to enhance and strengthen crops, and PlantArcBio, whose pesticide fights the deadly red palm weevil that attacks trees around the world, were also among the 32 startups selected.

The ministry decided to set up the database of outstanding startups after meeting with international firms and foreign delegations that expressed an interest in Israeli technologies in the agricultural sector, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel in the statement.

A Palm tree near Mevoot Hayarkon in Israel, damaged by the deadly red palm weevil (PlantArcBio)

“Now we have a ranking of the companies with the most potential,” he said. “We hope that our help and the database will enable these young Israeli companies get the exposure and the government budgets to promote the development of their products,” he said.

Michal Levy, a senior VP for agriculture innovation at the ministry, said that choosing the list of firms “was not easy, as we saw incredible technologies and products.”

Company selection was based on a number of criteria, including their level of innovation, the technological challenge inherent in the idea, the feasibility of the project’s success, the degree of potential contribution to the economy, the ability to differentiate the company from competitors, and the ability of the company team, she said.

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