Five young entrepreneurs from Romania have combined their experience in software and business development to set up an agri-tech Romanian startup, named OGOR, which helps farmers have an overview of how their agricultural crops evolve.
Their business story started simply, but it has all that is necessary to become known throughout the world. The startup was founded back in 2019, but it was only last year when the startup gained more visibility with its participation in Innovation Labs. In fact, at the end of the program, OGOR won the Best Business Award and was received under the Orange Fab acceleration program.
Agri-tech Romanian startup that supplies data for farmers
The OGOR team has developed an agri-tech startup dedicated to farmers, which uses satellite imagery to build a living history of agricultural practices carried out on farmers’ land over the past three years. The purpose of the service is to supply and interpret a large amount of information about the state of agricultural land into a form accessible to farmers.
How did the idea of the startup appear?
It seems that the idea of OGOR appeared in 2019, when the team was challenged by a farmer to propose and develop an innovative solution for Romanian farmers. The decisive moment was when the farmer saw the Copernicus satellite maps, discovering a totally new perspective on his lands and farm.
When launching the startup, the founding team spent the first months visiting farms and interviewing farmers, analyzing the best solutions they could implement, the problems that the farmers faced, discovering a very little exploited niche. So, they kicked it off.
“The first step was to find a form of funding, which quickly materialized by winning the Copernicus Incubation grant (they were the first team in Romania to win this grant). Thus, together with four other experienced IT professionals, we set up the OGOR startup in August 2019. The ogor.ro platform became available in March 2020 and now, a year later, it is used by over 100 farmers in Romania, France, Belgium and Bulgaria, and covers more than 120,000 ha of agricultural land”, says one of the founders, Dafina Jeacă.
What did they discover in their first year of existence?
That agriculture in Romania is very diverse, starting from the nationality of farmers (besides Romanians, there are Dutch, Italians, Germans, and French significantly investing in farming activities), and ending with the size of the farms (from 5 hectares to 50,000 hectares), and type of the agriculture practiced: sustainable, ecological, conventional agriculture.
But they also discovered common points among all the farmers they came in contact with: they noticed that the Romanian farmers are like firefighters: they are always on the run to solve urgent problems, without having the time to analyze, to develop a coherent management and a vision of sustainable development of their business.
Another element they noticed is related to productivity. “In Romania it is well below the European average. And this is caused not only by the climate or unfavorable conditions. One of the causes for this low productivity is also the impossibility to determine or to find in time problems from the crop, problems with the soil, errors that affect the crop and which, in the end, affect the productivity ”, said Dafina.
This is where OGOR comes to solve the problems. They give the farmer the opportunity to detect crop problems in time, which he cannot observe during a normal field visit.
What are the services that OGOR offers to farmers?
Simply said, OGOR is an online application monitoring arable land. As Dafina points out, it is a service dedicated to farmers who have over 20 ha of agricultural land, through which they can control the condition of their crops and the effects that agricultural works have on them.
The agri-tech Romanian startup offers farmers an analysis and control tool, built on several types of data:
- Copernicus satellite images mapped in the form of vegetation maps,
- plant moisture maps,
- soil moisture maps, available from 2017 to date, updated weekly,
- historical weather data, soil water reserve and weather forecast for the next 7 days.
Farmers have access to a full farm log from 2017 to date, can perform an efficient inspection of land by identifying in time the potential problems, immediately visible in vegetation maps, can discover the hidden potential of each hectare by correlating productivity with the evolution of maps vegetation. They can understand the effects of agricultural work on the crop by comparing vegetation maps of several lands, can collaborate and consult at a distance with external experts of the farm.
Through the constant use of these functionalities, farmers have control over the evolution of their crops, understand the effects of agricultural decisions, gain time and can recover the losses caused by human or mechanical factors.
Regarding the costs associated with using the OGOR application, the service is offered as an annual subscription, with a fee calculated depending on the size/area of the farm.
For using the subscription, farmers don’t need to buy any new machinery or equipment, or change their way of working or have advanced technical knowledge. All it takes is a computer and a smartphone, and they will have access to all available satellite data, mapped on their land.