Switzerland-based EMPA and BASE partner with Innoterra to develop digital quality control tools for banana cultivation

Switzerland-based EMPA and BASE partner with Innoterra to develop digital quality control tools for banana cultivation
The partnership allows to combine the tech capabilities of BASE and EMPA and build on Innoterra’s deep farming knowhow to further strengthen its full-stack platform offering to smallholder farmers

Switzerland-based 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 cultivation 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 (ML) algorithms to detect defects in bananas prior to 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 optimise 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.

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Highlighting the partnership, 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 realisations and increase their incomes.”

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

Speaking on the benefits of digital quality control tools for banana supply chain, Thomas Motmans, Team Lead and Senior Sustainable Energy Finance Specialist, BASE said, “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 digitalisation.”

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