Agrifutura Oy, the Finnish producer of tomato brand Nams, has signed an agreement with Israel-based Arugga AI Farming to deploy its pollination robots over its greenhouses. Agrifutura grows 4.6 hectares of tomatoes, mainly vine.
“Healthy and nice tomatoes all grow as a result of quality pollination. In Finland, long dark days in the winter make it very hard for bees to pollinate. You then need to supplement with manual pollination, which is obviously expensive and lacking in efficiency compared to natural pollination in summer. Like other growers, I also have concerns about bees spreading viruses, and when I came across Arugga’s solution, I knew that it would bring a great increase in winter production when the prices are the highest, thus providing a potentially extremely rapid ROI” said Sebastian Anttila, Agrifutura’s founder, and CEO.
Taking care of the plants at Agrifutura
Eytan Heller, Arugga’s VP of Business Development, says that “we are extremely pleased to enter the Finish market and do this with Sebastian and Agrifutura, who are at the forefront of horticulture innovation. Following our launch and growth in Australia and the US, we are glad to be setting foot in our first European country, and the beautiful setting of northwest Finland is a great place to start”.
Anttila adds that “with this robotic solution in hands, we certainly expect to increase yields which are central to our sustainability commitments as well as for easing investments into the agriculture sector. More yields using the same surface are great, but beyond that, we also see the benefits of using a pollination robot that has eyes on every plant, which will also give us access to important data collection and diagnostics, which we believe is absolutely crucial for the future of high-tech growing”.
Meet Polly, Arugga’s pollination robot
According to Heller, “in the second half of this year, we will start providing growers using our pollination system some data metrics which we hope will help them with yield prediction and pest & disease detection tasks. We realize growers rely on sampling, sometimes 20 plants out of 20,000, to make critical assessments. We’re hoping to change that by looking at every plant”.