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Listed Israeli Agritech Player Roots Does First African Deal; Eyes Out Cannabis and Blueberry Sectors with New SA Partner, Cherry Irrigation

Anticipates sales of US1,55 over next three years

Listed Israeli company Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Ltd has done an exclusive deal with Cape-based Cherry Irrigation in an anticipation of a boom in the South African cannabis and blueberry markets in the next few years.  Cherry has three years to sell US$1,55 m of Roots’ high-tech heat probe equipment which has been seen as an effective means of maintaining yields in a time of intense climate change.

The agreement, signed on 26 November 2021, marks Roots’ first entry into Africa.  The company says it expects South Africa’s cannabis sector to achieve strong growth following the formalization of a national strategy from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform  and Rural Development to industrialize and commercialize the sector. The company also has its eyes on blueberries, saying the industry has seen has seen exponential growth during the last five years with most production in the Western Cape where Cherry Irrigation is headquartered. 

Under the deal, in a non-binding, letter of intent, Roots will provide exclusive marketing, sales and installation rights to Cherry Irrigation for its Root Temperature Optimisation (RTZO) and Heat Exchange Probe (HEP) technology in South Africa and Namibia.


Roots confident agri-tech deal will be a catalyst to more business

Roots CEO Boaz Wachtel said he was confident the Cherry Irrigation deal coupled with the effectiveness of the RZTO technology would act as a catalyst for broader product uptake.

“Securing our first letter of intent and sales into Africa is a major step for our company and highlights the applicability of our products to farmers and growers globally,” Wachtel said.

“We expect our RZTO and HEP technologies to be well received, specifically in a region experiencing large growth in segments in which our product can considerably increase yield and crop quality.”

The exclusivity commitment is for three years and conditioned on an average sale in that time of no less than €1.0m (~$1.55m).

Upon sale and installation of each system, Cherry Irrigation will pay Roots a royalty at a rate to be agreed upon in the definitive agreement, anticipated in early 2022.

Both parties have agreed upon an initial purchase order of four small scale RTZO systems, which will be used as pilot installations over the coming months.

He said he was expecting an increased deal flow from Africa: 

“Discussions  are  well  progressed with  numerous  other  parties  following  an  increased  level  of  demand  for  technologies providing sustainable agricultural practices,” he said.

“Roots remains in the box seat to be able to establish our presence in further key markets as this trend continues to accelerate.”


Roots in its own words: finding solutions for climate fluctuations

Established in 2012 and based in Israel, Roots is developing and commercialising technologies to help address critical problems faced by the agriculture industry today, such as plant climate management and the shortage of water for irrigation.

The company has developed proprietary know-how and patents to optimise performance, lower installation costs, and reduce energy consumption to a minimum and bring maximum benefit to farmers.

Its patented RTZO can heat or cool crop roots as needed in one system, mitigating against temperature fluctuations, which is critical in regions where daily and seasonal temperatures can vary significantly.

The company has operations in Israel, China, Australia, the USA, South Korea and Spain.

The company installed 1,000 heat exchange probe units at the My Green Fields cannabis farm in Israel. It also expanded its partnership with California-based smart technology provider Humboldt CCTV.

Roots’ RTZO system is being integrated into Humboldt’s SmartAg product that enables growers to wirelessly monitor soil moisture, crop temperature, weather station data and environmental conditions at a grow site.

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