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325727

Q&A: Revital Kremer, chief technology officer at SupPlant

Precision ag-tech helps farmers overcome climate change challenges.

Revital Kremer is leading the charge for ag-tech to help farmers overcome water scarcity as climate change continues to challenge growing conditions around the world.

Kremer joined SupPlant, a precision ag-tech company, after more than two decades working with technology teams in military, gaming, and other software domains.

“When I came to SupPlant in 2020, I felt for the first time I have a chance to not only develop software, but to create something that has an impact on the world,” Kremer says.

SupPlant utilizes data collected from soil and weather sensors for the platform’s algorithms to provide actionable agronomic insights to farmers. This, combined with forecasts and crop growth models, creates daily irrigation recommendations and preemptive plans to overcome extreme weather events.

SupPlant offers two solutions: one targeted for large operations, which is only about 2% of farmers globally. The other is a sensor-less solution for smallholder farmers who make up the other 98%.

“Throughout the day, we take measurements by the micrometer every half an hour,” explains Kremer. “This allows us to trace early stages of stress and other problems. We believe in taking a proactive approach rather than a retroactive approach. We say that we ‘help farmers speak better plant.’ ”

SF: What is your mission as chief technology officer?

RK: My mission is to develop cutting edge technology in agriculture; sophisticated solutions enabled in a simple way. Our products have a lot of dimension to serve our farmers who just want the raw data that comes from the sensors; we have other farmers who only want the calls-to-action we provide. Our system has a wide range of users and each one of them should gain what he needs from the system. This is the major challenge we face. Our system should also be able to support many farmers at a high scale.

SF: Why is this technology so important for the future of climate change?

RK: I once heard from one of our customers that a long time ago, taking care of a crop was like following a recipe in a cookbook. There was a certain amount of water and other treatments the plant should have in a certain amount of time during the season. It was very strict. And now, it’s the same recipe but rather than an oven, you have a fireplace because the environment is changing.

We see that the temperature increases exponentially during the seasons, the winter becomes rainier, and the summer has more heatwave events. That changes how farmers have to treat the plants. It’s not something you can really read in books. You have to listen to your crops and decide what to do.

SF: How does SupPlant support farmers globally?

RK: Our sensor-based solution is targeted to the 2% of farmers with large operations, but we want to enable more farmers to “unmute their crops” and that means supporting the other 98% who are smallholder farmers with the right solution for them. So, for example, we have a large project in Kenya with 500,000 women farmers growing maize. They use our sensor-less solution for daily irrigation recommendations, weather advisory, and weather statistics. It’s so exciting to help women in this area.

SF: What challenges or opportunities have you found while working in ag-tech?

RK: High tech and ag-tech specifically is a male-dominated area. This is obvious. I really believe that men and women are different and I wouldn’t want either to have the same qualities. But it has nothing to do with my success in a career in technology or ag-tech. I don’t think that I have to be strong or have to be fast in order to succeed.

I have had some experience with people in industries not listening or not taking me into consideration because I’m a woman. I got more and more experience with how to deal with this through the years. And I have to say that when I joined SupPlant, I was surprised to see how encouraging and supportive of an environment I have here. At this time, 50% of the C-suite are women. In the research and development department, 40% are women.

I think there are two main reasons that we don’t see a lot of women in ag-tech in a high level of management. One is the non-encouraging environment for women. This is well-known and a popular subject that everybody talks about. The other reason is that women need to believe in themselves more. They’re afraid to get out of their comfort zone and if they do, it might have an effect on their home and family. They just don’t take chances, and this is what worries me the most.

SF: What do you think the future looks like for others seeking to innovate?

RK: In terms of ag-tech, I think that this domain should come up with a holistic solution, and not force farmers to deal with different kinds of solutions and platforms in order to get different kinds of data. At SupPlant, we are looking at how we can collaborate with other companies to do this.

I really believe that every decision should be based on data and not feelings. At SupPlant, we have 1.2 billion measurements from different crops, which is a huge asset for us. And we should use this asset in order to create a robust, reliable solution and improve it over time.

Bio: Revital Kremer graduated from the Israel Institute of Technology and has worked for over two decades in technology teams in military, gaming, and other software domains.
 
SupPlant: SupPlant's precision farming platform includes a fully autonomous irrigation feature that reduces stress conditions and maximizes plant growth. https://supplant.me/

Headquarters: Afula, Israel

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