| Hakim Hayat |
THE local tech start-up AGROME IQ that provides agricultural business intelligence and analytics technology to farmers yesterday launched SPROUT (iQ), its first consumer product that allows virtually everyone to grow their own crops through its educational platform.
AGROME IQ Founder Vanessa Teo also shared plans to roll out the new product to the Asean region and later in the global foray as it takes off in its exciting journey.
Brunei-based AGROME IQ was launched in September last year and provides agriculture business intelligence and data analytics platform that provides farmers with the information to make effective decisions on their farm management process.
The idea came towards the end of Teo’s PhD in Agriculture Modelling with IBM and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) when she identified that most farmers do not have access to the right information to support their decision-making to develop more profitable and sustainable farm systems.
AGROME IQ uses their platform to directly provide applicable information and technology to support growers to create more productive and efficient farm systems.
Since AGROME IQ’s launch, various clients in the country have signed up. It is in talks with one of the largest rice exporters in Vietnam and also working closely with the Brunei Government to help farmers improve crop yields via its program. Recently, they established their second office in the UK at the Royal Agriculture University, Cirencester.
During SPROUT (iQ)’s launching at the Progesif Cellular Sdn Bhd headquarters in Gadong yesterday evening, Teo explained that the extension of their services is aimed for the consumer market, catering towards the urban farmer.
SPROUT (iQ) is paired with the AGROME (iQ) platform’s agricultural business intelligence and data analytics elements. The new platform is an urban farming educational platform and workshop series which addresses the needs of people who want to learn how to start farming and the processes involved.
“By the year 2050 there will be nine billion people living on earth. Food security and food sustainability is a key issue that everyone on the planet faces,” the company said in a statement. “AGROME IQ is making a step in the right direction in terms of optimising farming systems not only for today but also forecasting and paving the way for future innovations and creations in the high technology and productivity arena for agriculture.”
The company added that SPROUT (iQ) was launched in Brunei to highlight their partnerships and supporters, both government and private sectors, as their supports have been instrumental in the startup’s development.
“We are happy to announce that local telecommunications company Progresif Cellular will provide us funding to help run the Sprout (iQ) platform in three selected schools. We will be progressively launching the platform in Asean over the next year and hence, bringing the platform to our clients in the region,” said Teo.
Meanwhile, the revolutionary Indonesian hyperlocal transport, logistics and payments startup Go-Jek Co-Founder Dayu Dara Permata, who was special guest at the event, spoke of her impression of Teo.
“I met Vanessa a year ago in one of the most prestigious Women Leadership Initiatives in Southeast Asia, where we spent a week together to talk about some of world’s most pressing issues and ideate solutions to solve it. Every woman leader in that leadership camp I met was special, but Vanessa was truly one of a kind. She shared with me how she is extremely passionate about empowering the most marginalised profession in this world, that is the farmer, and thus sustaining global food security.”
Vanessa said that the launch of their new product aligns with their vision of helping growers with the right information to begin and efficiently maintain their farming journey.
“We have focussed on modernising the process of traditional learning by integrating the platform and workshops so that growers can receive farm management guidelines on a daily basis while also, sharing with the community their progress and produce,” she said.
Also present at the event were the CEO of Brunei Economic Development Board Soon Loo, and CEO of Progresif Paul Taylor.