Jun 7, 2021
Biobest invests in Arugga; to distribute its pollination robots in the US, Canada

Biobest Group NV of Belgium and Arugga AI Farming of Israel announced recently Biobest’s participation in Arugga’s latest financing round as well as the signature of an exclusive distribution agreement for the USA and Canada.

Arugga AI Farming is an Israel-based start-up company, founded in 2017 and developing robotic solutions for greenhouse farming. The company has focused its early product development on robotic tomato pollination as an alternative to bumblebees and manual methods.

“We have tested our pollination robots in tomato greenhouses and obtained impressive results. We observed up to 5% added yield versus bees and manual pollination. Simultaneously our robots address other bottlenecks in the tomato crop,” Iddo Geltner, Arugga’s CEO said in a news release. “We are now ready to initiate the commercialization stage and have already taken significant steps to start deployment of our technology in the USA and Canada. Over the past couple of years, we got to know the Biobest team and we appreciate their passion and knowledge of markets in horticulture. Our agreements with Biobest, a company that is well known and respected by tomato growers worldwide, is a strong vote of confidence in the potential of our technology and provides us with broad and fast-track market access.”

Biobest provides growers across the globe with a wide range of solutions for biological control and pollination.

“We are very pleased to enter this collaboration with Arugga”, said Jean-Marc Vandoorne, CEO of Biobest. “We have been impressed by their entrepreneurship and the results from their initial robotic pollination trials show great promise for the future. Now more than 30 years ago, Biobest was the first to start commercial production of bumblebees and this was a true revolution for tomato farmers. We are committed to provide our growers across the world, each in their own specific context, with the very best solutions for pollination and biological control. We believe the high-tech tomato production in North America is likely to be one of the first markets in which the Arugga technology will gain traction and we want to be with Arugga at the forefront of innovation in pollination. We are already working together conducting commercial trials with leading growers and have ambitious plans for a joint commercial roll-out.”

Both companies also refer to the broader transformation of greenhouse horticulture and point out how rapid digitalisation will go hand in hand with major sustainability gains. The Arugga team said it is already working on additional modules which will enhance the range of functionalities of its robotic platform.

Biobest believes that robotization, artificial intelligence and digitalisation will shape the future of greenhouse farming. The collaboration with Arugga demonstrates Biobest’s determination to remain the grower’s most reliable provider of solutions in pollination and biological control in a world characterized by breakthrough innovation.

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