“Companies pay us so they can connect with our farmers. That way, they can adopt traceability…”
Diego Hoter is a co-founder and CEO of ucrop.it, a collaborative platform that seeks to record the “Crop Stories” of farmers. Hoter is the former CEO of Torrepueblo, with an MBA from the University of Edinburgh.
AgriBrasilis – What is the purpose of the ucrop.it partnership with NASA?
Diego Hoter – Our goal is to develop geospatial algorithms using machine learning, aimed at measuring environmental and sustainability indicators. In the particular case of the partnership with NASA, we are developing an algorithm focused on the efficiency of crop nutrition.
The results generated by this algorithm will be used as evidence/data for our Crop Stories. The objective is to measure different functional aspects and the environmental improvement linked to the use of fertilizers by farmers and by the companies associated with them.
AgriBrasilis – What are the “Crop Stories” that the company offers?
Diego Hoter – The Crop Story is a document recorded on the blockchain that contains data on the management activities of a farm, sustainability analysis, soil data, etc. Crop Stories can be customized depending on the digital contract between farmers and companies. These documents are encrypted, and stored securely and confidentially.
The Crop Story is supported by electronic and documentary datasets, backed by verification done by a ucrop.it agronomist, who assists the producer in the successful digitalization of the history of his crops. Everything is done according to the objectives and metrics that the company linked to the farmer wants.
The use of blockchain makes structured data immutable. Based on this data, QR codes can be generated. Such QR codes can be attached to products and brands, for example, with the aim of attesting to the sustainability of agricultural production for the final consumer or for other companies participating in the value chain.
Blockchain is a technology that allows the massive verification of decentralized data, with the certainty that this data cannot be modified. This technology works as a “digital notary” that attests to this data. In the case of sustainable agriculture, blockchain provides robustness and transparency for the use of metrics such as carbon footprint or balance, water usage, environmental impact, etc.
AgriBrasilis – What is the role of the company in Latin America?
Diego Hoter – We connect farmers and companies so they can close agreements, delimit, and verify their Crop Stories, using real sustainability metrics. Companies can use these metrics to quantify the impact of their products, brands, and processes, through agreements with farmers. It is possible to establish traceability at the level of “who”, “how”, “when”, and “where”, for example. All this through financial incentives in exchange for the use of the data.
We are present in eight countries: the USA, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Australia. Only in 2022, we demarcated 1.2 million hectares of verified sustainable crops. We have more than 750 farmers, who are free users on our platform, in addition to more than 60 companies (multinational and regional).
Companies pay us so they can connect with our farmers. In this way, they can adopt traceability and impact analysis on their products, brands, or processes.
AgriBrasilis – How much has ucrop.it already managed to raise in investments?
Diego Hoter – So far, we have raised over US$ 9 million from investors in the USA, Latin America, and Europe. We expect to reach our financial break-even point by 2024.