The profound economic blow dealt by the coronavirus crisis has been felt worldwide. Yet it is easy to miss the trees for the forest, and there are many companies in agriculture that have remained steadfast in their aims for 2020 and beyond.
One company on an upward curve is Farmable, which announced it was hiring a new chief marketing officer, Vidhi Kumar, in April. Indeed, the Oslo-based software firm, founded in August 2018, is gearing up for an “exciting 2020” according to its commercial manager Kaye Hope after the business launched its new Advisor tool which allows collaboration between horticulture agronomists and their growers.
This summer the company will also launch a web portal called the ‘Farmable Workbench’ where growers can access a user-friendly tool for organising data and analysing trends. In the autumn Farmable will also be running a pilot project for apple harvests with sensor-based bin tracking for growers who want to increase precision in tracking fruit from the tree through to the point of sale.
The work that Farmable does, and the appointment of Kumar highlights how much roles in horticulture are changing, as technology and farming intersect in deeper ways.
“Beyond the usual mix of software developers, there is a strong focus at Farmable on user experience and product design. It is incredibly important that users can download the app and understand how it works right away because its design is intuitive,” Hope says.
“Hort-tech can off er professionals with technical and commercial skills an exciting opportunity to trailblaze unchartered territory, solve meaning problems and work as a part of a global team. It has a lot to offer!”
One huge advantage of contemporary agri-tech and software development is the high esteem in which it is held, as it tackles one of the big problems of our time: feeding more with less.
“Skilled professionals care less and less about a big salary and more about what they are contributing to in the world. Horticulture can leverage this to attract top talent to solve its unique set of challenging and meaningful problems,” Hope reflects.
So does she think horticulture is vocal enough in attracting talent and capitalising on its positive credentials? “It’s moving in the right direction but it can capitalise on challenges such as the coronavirus crisis. Horticulture is a primary industry that will, against all odds, have a growing demand.
“The past few months have highlighted our reliance on farming and the opportunities that exist to improve performance in the sector. While the challenges that exist in horticulture are daunting, they are also extremely meaningful and impact the global food chain.”