Validating new products and services for agriculture in real conditions can be quite challenging. Farmers are extremely busy, often scared of potential losses due to climate or market situation and therefore less interested in testing new solutions. On the other hand many startups lack contacts in farmers community as well as skills to speak the language of their customers and to convey the added value they want to bring in.
That’s why Test Farms programme was designed – to link startups with farmers who want to test their prototypes in the field. Startups have the opportunity to validate the functionality or the market acceptance of their solution in countries in Eastern and Southern Europe. Farmers gain access to the newest innovations that can improve their everyday work and make agriculture more sustainable and efficient.
Twenty four startup solutions have been tested since the launch of the programme in 2019. EIT Food not only helps to match startups with right farmer and land but also supports the organisation of the Demo Day, where startup can showcase the solution to potential customers and investors.
One of the 2020 programme participants, Ullmanna from Czech Republic, has invented intra row non-chemical weeding machine powered by AI. This invention has a great potential to decrease the amount of pesticides used and to respond to the labour shortage problem. Team tested the solution in a 800ha sugar beetroot farm in Samborowice, Poland. Ullmanna’s AI technology has received very positive feedback from the farm owner, other producers as well as one of the biggest sugar processors in Europe.
Check below’s video to learn more about Ullmanna’s invention and their experience participating in Test Farms programme.
This year, we have welcomed another cohort of 16 high-impact startups which can improve agricultural practices and make agriculture more sustainable - download the pdf to find out more about the innovative ideas tested in 2021.
If you would like to know more about the programme, click here or contact Test Farms manager - Adriana Balazy (firstname.lastname@example.org).