Farmers crop losses to weeds, pests and diseases can range from 20% to 50%. To prevent this losses farmers apply chemicals to their crops, such as herbicides and pesticides. Farmers do not know exactly where to apply this chemicals, so when they apply them they usually do it to entire fields at a time, this increases the total cost of the application, decreases its efficacy and harms the environment.
In order to solve this, farmers manually scout and sample their fields to determine the locations in which it is best to apply chemicals. This is a time-consuming and costly process and cannot easily account for the enormous variety of factors that affect crops.
Gamaya aims to solve these issues by making crop scouting more efficient. To do so, Gamaya captures information through a patented hyperspectral camera deployed by drones that fly over crop fields.
The information captured by this camera is then processed using algorithms and then it is translated into actionable information that farmers can use to optimize the usage of chemicals and fertilizers with the goal of improving production efficiency and reducing crop diseases and weed-related losses. Gamaya’s camera is 100x more efficient at compressing data than other hyperspectral cameras, allowing them to process image data faster and cheaper than competitors. As Gamaya collects more data, their machine learning algorithm increases the speed and accuracy with which they are able to make recommendations to farmers.
Effectiveness and Commercial Promise
Gamaya’s system has been effective in accomplishing their objectives. For example, they worked with K-Farm in Brazil during 2015 greatly improving the result of a 2,000 hectares corn plantation. The improvements obtained can be seen in the following table:
|Before Gamaya||After Gamaya|
disease and pests
fertilisers and chemicals
Currently, Gamaya offers two solutions, Soyfit and Canefit. The first one is aimed at sugarcane cultivation and is expected to generate up to a 15% increase in crop yield, a 20% decrease in weed related losses, a 30% reduction in chemical usage and a 30% decrease in disease related losses. The second one is aimed at soybean cultivation with a 10% increase in crop yields, a 20% decrease in weed related losses, a 30% reduction in chemical usage and a 50% reduction in losses due to soil erosion.
It is important to note that the benefits obtained by Gamaya seem relatively large when compared to the cost of the solution. Gamaya charges only 20$ per ha to farmers.
This proven capability to improve farmers results at a low-cost of implementation has made Gamaya one of the most attractive firms in the AgriTech industry, being featured by Forbes as one of the 4 European AgriTech startups with a potential to become a $1 billion dollar company.
Although Gamaya has been successful in different markets, entrance to the U.S. and other regions might be more difficult than expected for two reasons: First, US regulatory environment regarding drone deployment is much more complex than in other countries, moreover, changes in international drone regulation might affect their ability to expand in other regions. Second, the price to pay may be really high in developing countries, which means that even though Gamaya will save money farmers may not have enough cash to invest in the project right away.
An interesting alteration to Gamaya technology would be to modify their algorithms, using the same sensor, in order to generate value in other industries. For example they might help fisheries track wild fish movements and developmental stage in order to increase their yield and reduce by-catch or help the forestry industry and national parks to predict and prevent wildfire given the current conditions.