Photo of Fernando Derossi


Fernando Derossi

Using big data and image processing to increase agricultural productivity

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From

"Eight years of experience in the agricultural industry lead Fernando Derossi to look for a technological solution to eradicate the inefficiencies that plague the sector, in which up to 30% of the production is lost due to factors like blights, pests and weeds. This young, Argentinian entrepreneur has founded Agrozone, a platform which provides big data analysis, image processing and artificial intelligence in an app that offers farmers the best solution for any present or potential problem which could affect their crops. Thanks to this breakthrough, Derossi has been selected as one of MIT Technology Review, Spanish Edition´s Innovators Under 35 Argentina and Uruguay 2016.

Derossi explains: ""During my visits to local producers while I worked for BASF or Syngenta, I always observed the same pattern."" Derossi recalls how farmers would tour their fields, taking notes of what they observed. Any anomaly detected would trigger a consultation with an expert to explore the cause and possible solutions. The result was not the best solution for each farmer, but rather the solution which the expert contacted offered. ""All of this happened offline,"" the creator of Agrozone points out.

After obtaining an MBA from the MIT Sloan Business School (United States), Derossi formed a multidisciplinary team to develop a software tool which would allow agriculturalists to access all of the information required to detect infestations, blights or identify weeds both within their fields as well as in surrounding fields. This data provides the best possible solution to the problem. Derossi´s idea was a finalist in several entrepreneurship competitions organized by MIT, which have served to support the launch of Agrozone.

""Thanks to an artificial intelligence, image processing algorithm based on neural networks, the app can identify weeds, blights and pests from a photograph taken of the crop"", Derossi explains. At present, this functionality is available for wheat, corn and soy crops. The information analyzed by the app is stored by Agrozone, along with the geolocation details and other environmental variables, which allows the data obtained in one field to be used to warn adjacent farmers of the possibility of the problem spreading to neighboring fields and provide an approximate timeline.

""In addition to identification, the app analyzes the severity of the problem and offers a recommendation for treatment, based on the products and distributors available in the region"", the Argentinian entrepreneur adds. The app is free, since Agrozone´s business model is centered on selling information to local suppliers that will help them to update their stock according to local needs. Agrozone also offers a commission for sales made through the platform.

Derossi explains: ""For our business model it is fundamental to gain the farmers´ trust in that they will receive the objectively best recommendations in a totally transparent manner. The more users the app has, the bigger its predictive power will be, and as the impact grows it will be national, regional and even global"". For now, Agrozone has signed agreements with companies in Argentina and the United States.

According to the president and cofounder of Hot Hotels and a jury member for the Innovators Under 35 Argentina and Uruguay 2016, Joe Haslam, Fernando Derossi combines a clear, commercial vision for his start-up with a profound knowledge of the agricultural industry acquired through his experience in the sector, and this heralds great success for his company."