United Nations food and agriculture organisation has identified an insect called red palm weevil as a global threat because it damages about 40 palm species in 60 countries. The annual damage to the coconut industry alone is about £450 million pounds. About 10% of the annual coconut production is lost due to the red palm weevil.
Growers predominantly use either chemical or pheromone treatment as a counter to red palm weevil infestation. Chemical treatment is effective if it is done within the first couple of weeks of infestation and pheromone treatment is effective if it is placed in a highly interested area to keep
infestation within that domain. For both these techniques sensing is important. Unfortunately, due to lack of sensing techniques available in the market growers now depend on visual symptoms like
yellowing of trees or bleeding which appears after about three months into the infestation. Since the red palm weevil larvae grow in the trunk of the tree by crunching the fibre, people have developed an acoustic method to detect the crunching sound of this larvae.
The value proposition for the industry is that our sensor can increase yield by about 10%. Our intension is to start with the coconut market and move into dates and then eventually palm oil.
In terms of funding requirements this is a business venture that should generate revenue and profits quickly. But our first funding requirement is somewhere between £50,000 and £100,000. A £50,000
being a minimum which we will use to leverage two government grants that we are currently in the process of applying to develop an AI platform to add value to cloud data we will gather from
growers. Following that, another funding round for about £250,000 will allow us to progress on Sri Lankan and Middle Eastern markets for coconuts and dates. Finally, a further £500K will allow us to move to Malaysia and target the palm oil industry.