Technology

Pure Harvest Smart Farms raises US$180.5mn to fund expansion

pure harvest 1 julyPure Harvest Smart Farms (Pure Harvest), a world-leading sustainable technology-enabled agribusiness, raised US$180.5mn in their latest growth funding round


The financing was embraced by a consortium of key global investors, including Metric Capital Partners, UK, IMM Investment Corp, Korea, and Olayan Group, KSA, joined by several existing investors and management. The company will utilise the capital, together with various forms of debt financing, to invest in research and development, to expand its footprint across the GCC, and to open new markets in Asia.  

This represents the largest-ever convertible financing in the MEASA region. The funding round was vastly oversubscribed, and a few strategic investors are still in discussions for further upsizing, underscoring the strong institutional investor appetite for Pure Harvest. The growth capital cements Pure Harvest’s role as the MEASA region’s champion within the fast-emerging, global high-tech agriculture ecosystem.

Sky Kurtz, co-founder and CEO at Pure Harvest Smart Farms said, “We are humbled by this investment from an esteemed group of global investors, backing our mission: to harness the wonders of science, the power of nature, and the passions of people to provide tasty, affordable, sustainably-grown fresh produce anywhere. At Pure Harvest we have demonstrated we can reliably deploy our high-tech farming solutions across the GCC. Now it is time to enter new markets that share similar challenges to our own – fast-growing populations, seasonal import-dependence, and an awareness of the crippling effects that short-term crises (e.g. COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine conflict), and climate change, are having on our global food system. The future of farming is here… now, we have the resources to bring our solution to the world.”

Metric Capital Partners, the London headquartered, pan-European private equity investor providing capital solutions to mid-sized companies across a wide variety of industries, was a co-lead investor. Bjørn Tessiore, Partner at Metric Capital Partners said, “We are delighted to support the continued growth of Pure Harvest. It’s clear that controlled-environment agriculture is becoming increasingly important as a solution to food security issues while also mitigating the environmental impact of food production.”

Commenting for IMM Investment Corp, the leading alternative investment firm in Korea, who announced an initial US$50mn investment in Pure Harvest in October, Hyun-Chan Cho, Partner at IMM commented, “Due to our longstanding successful investment in Farm8 (PlanTFarm), we knew the CEA space well. With Pure Harvest, we saw a complementary solution that let us double-down on an investment thesis that we continue to believe in, and that tangibly contributes to global food security, water conservation, economic diversification, and sustainability objectives. We are proud to actively support Pure Harvest as it brings its solution to Asian markets.” 

The Olayan Financing Company, a Saudi company holding and managing the Olayan Group’s Middle Eastern assets, was another key investor in this round of fundraising. A spokesperson for the company, discussed their recent investment. “Pure Harvest’s character aligns closely to our own: they saw an impending global food security crisis and have taken an important step to solve it. The climate and water challenges Pure Harvest works to overcome is vital to the global economy.”

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Green electronics project sets out to create compostable crop sensors

Green electronics 28 juneAn international research collaboration is planning to explore new ways of monitoring crop growth with biodegradable sensors which can be composted at the end of their lifespan


The US$2.2mn CHIST-ERA project, called Transient Electronics for Sustainable ICT in Digital Agriculture, is led by researchers from the University of Glasgow and supported by colleagues in Canada, Finland, Poland and Switzerland. 

Over the next three years, the project partners will work together to develop a new type of environmentally-friendly modular sensor system. 

They will find ways to create devices built from sustainable and degradable materials with the aim of cutting down on the growing problem of electronic waste. 

The devices will have two parts – a solar-powered patch which can be applied to the surface of the leaves of crops to measure key indicators of their growth and an electronic module which can wirelessly transmit the information collected by the patch to a central computer. 

The team aims to make the patch completely biodegradable, and capable of nourishing the soil once it reaches the end of its period of usefulness. To do so, they will investigate how compostable electronic components might be made from everyday materials like rice husks, fibrous proteins like wool, or biodegradable polymers like starch or cellulose, combined with conductive metal nanoparticles made from materials like copper and zinc. 

They will also explore how those compostable components could be powered by similarly biodegradable organic photovoltaic materials to support the patch’s tasks of monitoring pH, temperature and bio impedance, with energy stored in a biodegradable super capacitor. Super capacitors provide a sustainable, non-toxic alternative for conventional batteries. 

At the same time, the team will also be working to develop an electronic module equipped with wireless communication technology. A key priority of the design for the module is that it will be reusable and repairable to help minimise waste. 

Professor Ravinder Dahiya, of the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering, is the project’s coordinator.

Professor Dahiya said, “The Internet of Things has huge potential to revolutionise every aspect of human activity, from home lives to global industry. Harnessing the power of the internet of things is particularly attractive in farming, where the challenges of growing crops as we adapt to the unpredictable effects of climate change will require close monitoring of fields and quick responses to problems to maximise crop yields. 

“However, the proliferation of digital devices that underpin the internet of things will is also leading to a massive expansion in digital waste. As much as 80% of our electronic devices currently end up as waste. As potentially dangerous materials in components like batteries and printed circuit boards degrade, they create hazards to the environment and to human and animal health which can last for decades.

“What we’re setting out to do with this project is to build hardware which is designed from the start to be disposable without creating problematic waste. In fact, the waste materials from our sensors will help to grow future crops of the plants they once monitored.   

The research is funded by URKI in the UK, FRQNT in Canada, Academy of Finland in Finland, NCN in Poland and SNSF in Switzerland. 

 

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AGCO taps Apex.AI for its robotic planting concept

AGCO APEXAiApex.AI, a software for mobility and autonomous applications developer, announced recently that AGCO, a global manufacturer and distributor of agricultural machinery and technology, is adding new capabilities to its autonomous farming robot by incorporating Apex.OS, an easy to-use software development kit (SDK)

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Marel and Curio partner to introduce complete whitefish processing solution

Marel curio whitefishMarel and Curio have together unveiled their new whitefish processing solution, ideal for small processors looking to increase automation in the face of labour shortages

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Massey Ferguson celebrates milestone tractor production

MF 15 juneAGCO Corporation, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and precision AG technology, celebrated the production of the one millionth tractor at its Massey Ferguson Beauvais plant


This milestone coincides with the company’s 175th anniversary. Massey Ferguson has been manufacturing tractors in Beauvais, France since November 20, 1960.

“2022 is a year of milestone celebrations for Massey Ferguson,” said Darren Parker, vice president of Massey Ferguson, North America. “We applaud the hard work and dedication of our colleagues in Beauvais to produce our one-millionth tractor. We’re also excited to celebrate Massey Ferguson’s 175 years of straightforward, dependable equipment innovation this year. These dual milestones prove our status as agricultural problem solvers dedicated to providing the right equipment, at the right price, for individual farming operations. Our equipment, just like our customers, is born to farm.”

Celebrating 62 years of production in Beauvais

Thierry Lhotte, vice president and managing director, Massey Ferguson EAME, and president of AGCO in France presented the one-millionth tractor produced in Beauvais – a brand-new MF 8S.305 Dyna-VT  to Thierry Aubrée, an arable farmer and contractor from the village of La Chapelle des Fougeretz in Brittany, France. “On behalf of all our employees and dealers, I want to thank our customers for their steadfast trust,” said Lhotte. The new 8S adds to Aubrée’s expanding Massey Ferguson fleet that already includes four tractors, three combines, and two large balers.

Boussad Bouaouli, vice president, manufacturing Beauvais, emphasized employee commitment on the Beauvais MF campus development. “From 1960, there have always been people who kept the site moving, always with the right farmer-first focus to address challenges of the times and, above all, with a clear view to the future,” Bouaouli said.

It all started with the MF 825 in 1960. From then, the site grew continuously, producing iconic tractors driven by innovation, including:

MF 3000 Series in 1986, the first tractor with onboard electronics,

MF 8600 in 2008, introducing the efficient power concept, which reduces environmental impact, courtesy of the first use of SCR technology on an ag machine,

MF 8S Series in 2020, with its award-winning Protect-U concept, which features a 9.4-inch gap between the cab and the engine installation, reducing heat, noise, and vibrations being transmitted to the cab and improving cooling and performance. The MF 8S Series received the Tractor of the Year 2021, Red Dot: Product Design 2021 and Farm Machine 2022 awards.

“The Beauvais plant and our dedicated employees embody Massy Ferguson’s commitment to farmer-focused equipment solutions. This plant, named Factory of the Year 2016, represents the modern era of Massey Ferguson. This campus sets our future and new standards,” Bouaouli said.

The site has seen innovative developments in recent years, including implementation of Lean Manufacturing practices, expansion of the Beauvais 2 cab assembly line and a logistics center, and a Tractor Customization Workshop. The facility produces many of the brand’s most popular tractors, including the MF 4700 M, MF 5700 M, MF 5S, MF 6S, MF 7S, MF 8S and MF 8700 S Series. Up to 100 tractors can be produced and shipped daily to dealers in more than 70 countries.

“As we hand over this one-millionth tractor, we are set to unify our sites into a single MF Campus with all our departments under one roof,” Lhotte said. “This offers high flexibility and leverages the unique experiences, skills and commitment of the people who work here. This tractor milestone is our 32,500 employees’ success, including our GIMA transmissions’ Joint Venture.”

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