Sumati Amrit came to China to study from 2000 to 2006 and returned to work in China in 2015, where he was responsible for the field of agricultural irrigation, and joined Mottech in Israel a year ago. In a recent conversation with HortidailyChina, Amrit shared some of his views.
Mottech is the world's leading irrigation control solution with the ICC PRO – IRRInet system at its core, enabling precise and efficient centralized irrigation. Mottech opened a branch in China in 2018. Before that, Mottech signed an agricultural development agreement with Northwest China and participated in many China-Israel loan projects in the northwest region. The investments in these China-Israel loan projects have so far reached $250 million.
Amrit said China has a vast territory and needs to adapt to local conditions and cannot simply copy Israeli technology. Motorola's technological advantages allow them to manage remotely through powerful communication capabilities. Mottech's IRRInet system can use various communication methods, such as radio, cellular network, GPRS signal, wired communication RS232, RS485, and wireless local area network. Mottech provides communication solutions that can be applied to almost any location and location. Unlike Israel, China's mobile data network has a wide coverage area and can also have a good signal in remote areas, which is very beneficial for systematic data collection. What is more important to them is that, after the data is collected, the growers need to be trained on how to process and apply the data in management.
Agricultural irrigation solutions are closely related to fertilizers, and precision irrigation can help them achieve better fertilization results. This involves a lot of professional knowledge about time management, soil, fertilizer, and other factors, which need to be taught to the growers one by one. They started their first project in the northwest of China, and some projects have been launched in the south, such as an avocado project in Yunnan and the citrus project in the mountains of Sichuan.
It is not easy for Chinese growers to understand and use the system, and it takes a lot of time. Traditional farmers just want to simply turn the system on/off. They don't want to know more relevant data. But this phenomenon is gradually improving as farmers become more professional. The application of Mottech's radio solutions in various fields provides a security guarantee for communication. China is strengthening the construction of information technology in all walks of life, and big brands such as Tencent and JD.com are also strengthening the collection and management of data, and everything revolves around data. With a lot of water usage data, they can make adjustments to save water and conserve water for cities/towns while managing better agricultural water distribution.
On the other hand, China's control of information data is very strict, and the results of all information data collection must be stored in China. Mottech has also established its own server in China and can collect the water usage on the farm first and then aggregate all the data. However, this is not easy because, at this stage, Chinese growers generally do not count how much water they use.
A lot of their work in China is done collaboratively through distributors and they have noticed that Chinese pitaya fruit and citrus growers are currently very willing to invest in the system. Most of these projects are located in the southwest region of China. Now, they are also starting to cooperate with other Israeli fertilizer companies to bring more complete solutions. The Chinese government is vigorously supporting the development of smart agriculture, but the concept of smart agriculture is not so clear for the time being.
Smart farming includes many aspects, and in terms of water management, water needs to be managed from the source. In many parts of China, there is no charge for rural water use. Now the government is gradually improving it, and it has also begun to try to gradually charge fees, which Amrit sees as heading in the right direction. By managing water and using sensors to measure other factors such as soil moisture and fertilizer usage, farmers can be guided to the correct amount of water to achieve real water conservation and thus protect China's precious water resources.