Raviv Kula, CEO and Co-Founder
In the fruit cultivation business, profit and growth are proportional to accurate yield estimation. However, the dearth of technologically advanced yield estimation techniques in the fruit production value chain and the use of inefficient sampling methods have resulted in inaccurate production analysis. The usage of such ineffective methodologies to estimate the crop data has left the industry in the dark about agronomy, logistics, and marketing business decisions, thereby negatively impacting business growth and profit. An Israel-based firm, FruitSpec breaks all barriers experienced with conventional methodologies through their ground-breaking offering—yield estimation delivered as a service. Powered by a patented hyperspectral and computer-vision/artificial intelligent algorithms, FruitSpec’s yield estimation mainly caters to packing houses to increase fruit market profitability by gaining accurate knowledge about production.
The origin of FruitSpec traces back two years ago when the company’s co-founders were discussing on the possibilities to leverage their expertise in hyperspectral imaging. While brainstorming countless ideas, two of the three co-founders, who are citrus growers, raised the significant pain points of accurate yield estimation. After a thorough discussion and analysis, they finalised on yield estimation technology as it touches every aspect of the fruit market value chain.
All in all, bringing accuracy to the fruit market value chain through disruptive technology will change the way a half trillion dollar industry is managed
Their yield estimation plan includes fertilizer suppliers, irrigation annual plans, growers, retailers, packing houses, logistics, distributors, and two major financial houses—insurance companies and banks. Today, FruitSpec empowers multiple packing houses to count their harvest accurately and estimate the fruit size while they are still in the early season.
Besides emphasizing yield estimation, FruitSpec places significant focus on fruit distribution throughout the orchard. According to Raviv Kula, CEO and co-founder of FruitSpec, “Although growers have owned their land for years, they still lack explicit knowledge of how their property maps out.” To help increase orchard visibility, FruitSpec provides a heat-map to the growers—a graphical representation of fruits across the entire orchard—that lays out the distribution of fruit quantities across the grower’s land. “All in all, bringing accuracy to the fruit market value chain through disruptive technology will change the way the half a trillion dollar industry is managed,” says Raviv.
Surprisingly, FruitSpec does not rely on aerial imagery or drones to scan the orchard parameters and generate heat-maps. Instead, the firm leverages hyper-spectral sensors mounted on farm tractors to scan the trees, gather the data, and run it through multiple algorithms to provide information to growers. “Be it the total number of fruits in the orchard, their total weight or fruit distribution, we provide affirmative information about the produce,” mentions Raviv.
Although the agriculture sector is replete with service providers, they are focused mainly on crops and soil study. But, FruitSpec has taken the road less travelled and carved out a success story by focusing on the orchard and fruit distribution. In the past two years of its journey, the firm has come a long way and expects a fruitful year ahead. For the future, FruitSpec plans to expand beyond its established market in the U.S. and South Africa and enter Europe and South America. The firm is also upgrading its services and adding new features to its offerings to improve the profit of the fruit market by a large margin.