Lebanon’s agriculture needs a revolution and everyone ought to be part of it. The sector faces big difficulties: land is under farmed, younger generations are becoming less and less interested in agriculture, and national support to the sector is mainly limited to international donor programs, with little coordination to develop a national strategy with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Lebanon has the human capital to combine science with engineering to save and grow the agriculture sector. What we currently need, as an investment in research and development, is a group of engineers and computer scientists, agricultural engineers, scientists, and business professionals working together under a national strategy to revive the country’s faltering farming industry.
Agriculture probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about entrepreneurship. But some experts see innovation as key to giving farmers in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East the boost they need to survive in this new age of agricultural challenges – desertification, population explosion, increasing production costs, and decreasing support for traditional and family farming.
The founder of IoTree, Nisrine El Turky, has always been passionate about electronics and technology. She had developed from scratch hundreds of projects in the fields of mechatronics, electronics, communications and networking. She found in Christina Chaccour an excellent business partner who shares similar interests and makes a great match to her knowledge. Together they were looking for a way to integrate technology in agriculture, an industry that is under-served providing a lot of business potential.
Hence the idea of IoTree was born. IoTree is a solution able to capture, detect, and warn the farmers about the med fly that is the most dangerous pest targeting the agricultural market in the MENA nowadays. The platform is designed to send alerts via SMS or mobile application informing the farmer when it’s the best time to spray pesticides.
The proposed solution consists of a network of sensorised dendrometers, which communicate via Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) to a central gateway situated within 1-2 km of the forest plot.
This gateway will communicate via satellite or GPRS network to Treemetrics’ central servers that make the data available to the end user via the Forest HQ web platform. The latter is a platform for forest management developed by Treemetrics that offers additional services, such as forest mapping and forest inventory data collected using different measurement methods. The implementation of the IoTrees data in this platform will allow the user to combine this data with EO datasets and alternative forest inventory data.
Touch saw the potential of the startup. During Agrytech’s 1st Agri-Food Innovation Day on the 5th of February, touch announced a partnership with 1st prize winner as well as a golden pass that allows IoTree to join the touch innovation program (TIP) cycle 3.