Israeli artificial pollination start-up targets California almond market

Field trials in Israeli almond orchards were completed successfully, substantially increasing crop yields.

A man displays an almond in Paso Robles, California, April 20, 2015. (photo credit: LUCY NICHOLSON / REUTERS)
A man displays an almond in Paso Robles, California, April 20, 2015.
(photo credit: LUCY NICHOLSON / REUTERS)
Israeli agritech start-up Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture, the developer of an innovative artificial pollination solution, will target the lucrative Californian almond market after announcing the successful completion of local field trials.
Founded in 2016, the Basmat Tivon-based company is behind a unique pollen harvesting and mechanical pollination system, which promises high-quality viable pollen and aims to solve severe agricultural challenges posed by the recent decline in insects and honeybees.
Field trials in Israeli almond orchards were completed successfully, Edete said on Tuesday, substantially increasing crop yields. The company, which has also recently tested its technology in Australian orchards, now aims to commence a pilot program in 2022 in California – the world's largest almond-producing region.
Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture CEO Eylam Ran. (Credit: PR)Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture CEO Eylam Ran. (Credit: PR)
"We are initially focusing our efforts on almonds, but our game-changing technology has huge potential for a wide range of other crops as well," said Edete CEO and co-founder Eylam Ran, citing the cultivation of crops including apples, cherries, pears, cotton, rapeseed and sunflowers.
"We will be targeting top tier producers in California, where 7% out of 7,400 growers account for more than half of the cultivated area," Ran said, adding that the Australian market bears similar characteristics.
Approximately 80% of the $7 billion worldwide almond market is located in the United States, and predominantly in California, where almond growers spend over $400m. on beehive pollination services per year.
According to the United Nations, approximately two-thirds of the crops that feed the world rely on pollination by insects or other animals. Pollinators are declining in number, however, due to intensive farming practices, monocropping, excessive use of chemicals and rising global temperatures.
The system developed by Edete mechanically collects and extracts pure pollen from flowers, which can then be stored for more than one year while maintaining good germinability rates. Pollen is later applied to trees using a robotic pollination system, dispersing optimal dosages of pollen on target flowers. The system is able to work throughout the day and night.
The company, which has raised $4.8m. in fundraising to date, operates a business model that is similar to existing pollination supply services, including the contracting of beehives. While prices are expected to be similar to current alternatives, the company aims to achieve a 10-20% increase in yields and seasonal consistency.