1. Agriculture World

Switzerland-Based EMPA & BASE Partner with Innoterra to Develop Groundbreaking Digital Quality Control Tools for Banana Cultivation

Switzerland-Based EMPA and BASE join hands with Innoterra to create digital tools for banana cultivation.

Kritika Madhukar
Innoterra employs more than 1,300 people and works closely with leading farmer communities and partners
Innoterra employs more than 1,300 people and works closely with leading farmer communities and partners

Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE), The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) have selected Innoterra to partner and develop digital quality control tools for the early detection of fruit defects in banana farmers in India. The partnership is under the framework of the project Your Virtual Cold Chain Assistant currently being rolled out in India. 

The method uses machine learning algorithms to detect defects in bananas before them being sold in the market. These algorithms are later being integrated into an app, which can be downloaded onto a farmer’s mobile phone. The early detection of defects allows farmers to optimize their fruit care, storage, and logistics processes.

 

It will lead to the more effective usage of Agri inputs, better quality fruits, and less wastage along the supply chain. The partnership allows to combine the tech capabilities of BASE and EMPA and build on Innoterra’s deep farming know-how to further strengthen its full-stack platform offering to smallholder farmers in India and other developing markets.

 

Dr. Anup Karwa, Head of Operations India, Nutrition Division at Innoterra, said, “We are combining state-of-the-art technologies with Innoterra’s deep expertise in banana cultivation and tech-enabled end-to-end platform, to the benefit of small-holder farmers in India. India is the world’s largest producer of bananas yet struggles with inferior quality and high wastage throughout its supply chain. Technology-enabled improvements in pre-and post-harvest processes will make Indian banana farmers more competitive, reduce the food wastage, allow for better price realizations, and increase farmer income.” 

Dr. Thijs Defraeye, Group Leader SimBioSys and key person involved in developing this partnership, said: “Teaming up with Innoterra is essential for us to implement, test, and optimize the machine learning models we are developing. Working closely with them helps us to complete the innovation pipeline.” 

 

Thomas Motmans, Team Lead, and Senior Sustainable Energy Finance Specialist, BASE welcomed this development, saying: “We are glad that the solutions we are developing as part of the project Your Virtual Cold Chain Assistant, are being adopted by Innoterra as a leading player in the agricultural sector in India. This partnership will reduce post-harvest losses for smallholders by strengthening agricultural cold chains with business model innovation and digitalization.

 

About Innoterra:

 

Innoterra is a Swiss-Indian agri-tech platform company transforming the economics of smallholder agriculture and ensuring the supply of healthy food to the world. The company provides high-tech and human-touch services to significantly increase the net income of its farming partners and drive the transition towards more regenerative farming practices. 

The company employs more than 1,300 people and works closely with leading farmer communities and partners. It orchestrates the sale of quality-assured traceable farm produce through its widespread sales and distribution network in India, the Middle East, China, and South-East Asia. 

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