Matija Zulj CEO & Founder at AGRIVI
Determined to solve the global food production issue, he abandoned the safety of the ICT sector and went into developing farm management software solutions. Eventually, his determination, hard work and commitment paid off: nowadays, AGRIVI boasts the most successful global farm management app, solving the issue of food traceability.
How was AGRIVI made?
After a successful seven-year career in the corporate ICT world, AGRIVI founder Matija Žulj decided to try his hand at something different. He opted for an industry, to which he believed he could contribute considerably more and which would make him more content. Thus, he committed himself to solving the global issue of increasing the food production’s efficiency and sustainability. To better understand farming, he decided to become a farmer himself and set up a blueberry plantation. Soon afterwards he faced the farmers’ day-to-day reality — the knowhow and advice on growing blueberries were far from easily available, and the market at the time lacked a simple, affordable software solution that would help him track his production and make data-driven decisions.
That is how AGRIVI came to be, going from being a Croatia-based startup, whose goal was to support farmers and food producers in making their production more efficient, to launching what is today one of the most successful farm management apps globally. Currently, the AGRIVI solution is present in more than 100 countries, while the company has offices in Zagreb, Warsaw, Bucharest, and London. The AGRIVI farm management software is used by farmers of all sizes, agribusinesses, agricultural banks, and other stakeholders in the food and agriculture industry, and has been localized in more than 15 languages.
In just a few clicks, the AGRIVI solution allows its users to obtain information on all production stages, as well as plenty other useful information needed for production planning and timely implementation of the agritech measures. These days, AGRIVI cooperates with the top global corporations in the industry, including the US-based Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry company, Switzerland’s Nestle, which uses the AGRIVI solution to ensure the quality of the fruit for its children’s food factories, and Helvetas, which relies on the software in question to ensure rice production’s traceability for more than 4,000 small farmers in Asia. According to the leading market research companies, AGRIVI is continually one of the top agritech companies globally, and last year it was named Europe’s top fast-growing food-tech company.
Digitization prevents average farmers from experiencing triple loss annually
Matija believes the future of food production, as well as its quality and profitability growth, lies in digitizing agricultural processes, which is something AGRIVI does. The company’s technology supports managing the entire production, enables compiling different analytical reports, and has built-in advanced predictive algorithms, which help with decision-making regarding optimal plant treatment schedule. Thanks to its large database, the solution provides the farmers with suggestions based on other users’ best practices.
Furthermore, the solution enables its users to deliver one of the most advanced agricultural production’s traceability reports. For any given crop, there are 20 key pieces of production-related information, and the reports are constantly available to both farmers and their buyers.
The AGRIVI solution is available on every user’s smartphone. It is easy to use and only requires the discipline to enter the predefined data available to the farmers. Everything else is done by the platform itself — the farmers are given information, instructions, and warnings.
Digitizing agriculture brings substantial benefits to the farmers, as it prevents the triple loss that average farmers suffer annually. The first loss takes place during the production planning stage, as without the precise data on soil quality and actual crop needs, the farmers are unable to optimally calculate the necessary inputs for the season. The digitization can reduce these losses by up to 30 percent. The second loss happens during the production stage, mostly due to misjudgments in implementing certain agrotechnological measures; yield losses caused by pests and diseases amount to 20–40 percent annually. The digitization reduces deviations from optimal deadlines, thus considerably reducing the losses in question. Finally, the third time the farmers experience losses is when pricing their products, due to their inability to provide detailed information about all the production stages — their buyers view this information as a guarantee that it is worth paying more for the farmers’ products. With digitization, the farmers’ income goes up by 50–100 percent. Plus, it is the only way to quickly increase the competitiveness of agriculture.
Importance of food traceability
The global coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected the entire world, highlighting the importance of food production safety. Production traceability is one of the biggest advantages of the AGRIVI business digitization, as it gives us a fully transparent production of the food we consume.
Consequently, food safety is increasingly becoming the dominant topic across the world, and people’s awareness of the importance of a healthy diet is rapidly growing, with surveys suggesting we are prepared to pay more for healthy foodstuffs. Even though various certificates are being developed to try and standardize food’s origin and method of production, the bottleneck that is preventing us from making any real headway is the lack of information about the foodstuffs we consume. Still, advanced digital solutions, such as those by AGRIVI, are giving the farmers a real chance of solving this issue.