Tropical and citrus fruits have been in great demand across the ASEAN region during the pandemic, intensifying the requirements for exports, supply chain resilience and fresh fruit security. To respond to this demand for assurance, Australian startup Rubens Technologies has announced a strategic go to market alliance with Southeast Asian crop intelligence heavyweight Avirtech.
With an increased focus on food security and safety in the region, the Singapore government and the Australian High Commission of Singapore, under its Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and Digital Economy Agreement, have been supporting artificial intelligence-driven SMEs to ramp up collaborations in food security and supply chain management.
Australia's High Commissioner to Singapore His Excellency The Honourable Will Hodgman said: “Singapore is Australia's largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN and we are excited that the Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) signed between our countries will accelerate trade and collaboration across technological domains.”
The resilience of production and distribution is key to ensure food security in Asia going forward. RubensCheck crop intelligence analytics combined with Avirtech's larger-scale insights will improve yield, consistency and enable better forecasting to minimise downsides of supply chain disruptions to the region.
Avirtech and Rubens have deployed a step-change in the agricultural logistics supply chain through a new program for pineapple pathogen and internal defect detection with heavyweight plantation owners. By eliminating the need to destroy a fruit in order to determine its quality, now with RubensCheck, the producer can sort healthy pineapples from those affected in real-time and without waste.
"We see a significant reduction in fruit wastage with early detection of diseases, by preventing cross-contamination during transportation. Ruben's scanner has been successful in deepening our crop intelligence to help plantations reduce waste and increase underlying yield," states Wilson Ong, COO and Cofounder of Avirtech.
Avirtech provides crop intelligence including plantation control systems for monitoring site conditions through aerial and ground information, including topography, crop health, soil quality, rainfall and farm operations activity and other processes important for production cycles. Through digitalising farm assets and enabling data-driven insights, Avirtech and Rubens accelerate supply-side R&D, precision agriculture, yield prediction and microinsurance, automating compliance to international food safety and regulatory standards.
Through the use of RubensCheck, a multi-spectral scanner combined with proprietary algorithms, the pineapple regtech solution has been designed to test for specific commercial qualities of horticultural products, including sweetness, acidity, internal colour, firmness and presence of defects or contaminants. This addresses the problems of sea versus air transportation selection and specialty crop waste pre-and post-harvest, as well as the underwriting of insurance risk premiums. Other companies that are testing Rubens Technologies solutions across the region include Dole, Zespri, SummerFruits Australia, Lionheart Agrotech, and Apple and Pears Australia Limited.
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