The world's population will reach 9.7 billion people by 2050, according to the United Nations. With a more populated planet, producing enough food for the entire world is a challenge that keeps getting bigger and one that keeps on aggravating the climate crisis. Aware of this problem, the biochemist and co founder of an enterprise dedicated to the creation of agricultural technology, Innus Technologies, Mariel Pérez decided to focus her efforts in avoiding the imminent alimentary problem.
Maria recalls, “I went to the countryside to learn directly from farmers and I realized that they were not aware of the state of their crops, nor did they know the state of their soil." That ́s how Enviro was born, an appliance that identifies the condition of soil and weather in real time, and from these two variables, it can offer recommendations on how to improve the return of crops. For this development, Pérez is a winner in the Latin American Innovators under 35 from the MIT Technology Review LATAM edition.
Thanks to its integrated sensors, Enviro can survey temperature, moisture, conductivity, pH, and salinity. The gadget is a type of peg that is 1.2 meters tall and that must be partially stuck in the soil so that it can take in all environmental conditions. Its algorithm uses these values to avoid loss of crops. Pérez assures Enviro lessens the need of agricultural inputs, "which reduces soil and water pollution by the excessive use of agro chemicals and betters the seize of agricultural land.”
Enviro is still in its experimental phase. After a few years of research, Pérez hopes to demonstrate the efficacy of the device with coffee plantations so its algorithm can help them come up with recommendations on how to improve its performance. In the short term, the entrepreneur hopes to lease Enviro to farmers, who could benefit from better end results in the final production at a lower cost when it comes to purchasing consumables.
For the director of the Energy Development Agency of EDF Renewable Energies, France, Alain Picasso, a member of the jury for the 2019 Latin American Innovators Under 35, the work Mariel has developed is “a very important issue for the future." In his opinion, “her proposal allows for farmers learn new skills and allows them to have accurate information to better improve their returns, reducing production costs and environmental impact.”