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Châtenay-Malabry (FR - 92290), October, 2020
EFITA newsletter / 953 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment
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Good old days (?????): Les femmes à la moisson à Auvers-sur-Oise par Charles Sprague-Pearce (1851-1914 - US)
How did we the future yesterday??
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Archives of our newsletters in French and English
Spraying robots: AutoWeed develops spraying robot for sugarcane farms
Australian AutoWeed's spraying robot could reduce herbicide usage on sugarcane farms by up to 80%.
Grain storage: AGCO focuses on developing grain storage tech with GrainViz
AGCO recently acquired Firm 151 Research, in order to create new grain storage technology solutions.
Satellite technology: Russian scientists developing space "vision" for agriculture
Space technology to increase efficiency of crop cultivation and increase crop yields.
The rise of the reused machines: Germany’s E-Farm raises $5.3m Series A, in AFN, by Richard Martyn-Hemphill
The ‘circular economy’ trend has reached industries as seemingly far apart as food and fashion.
Could agricultural equipment be next?
The global market for farm machinery exceeded $100 billion in 2019, according to the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association. Typically, however, secondhand models get sold through an opaque hodgepodge of informal regional listings, leading to limited price or quality transparency and strong market inefficiencies.
Pay with your palm: Amazon launches new tech for brick-and-mortar retailers, in Fortune, by Phil Wahba
Good old days (?????): Moisson à Villes sur Auzon (c. 1898) par René Seyssaud
Turkish delight as Tarfin raises $5m Series A for its smallholder lending app, by Richard Martyn-Hemphill
Tarfin, an Istanbul-based provider of agricultural inputs to farmers with extended payment terms, has completed a $5 million Series A investment round.
Led by Quona Capital, a venture firm focused on fintech in emerging markets, the round also saw participation from Elevator Ventures (the VC arm of Raiffeisen Bank International), Syngenta Ventures, and Tarfin’s seed investors Collective Spark Fund and Wamda. Tarfin says it will use the new funds to further enhance its data analytics tech and mobile app with the aim of reaching more farmers in Turkey and nearby geographies.
Good old days (?????): L'effort par René Seyssaud (1867-1952)
French plan for improving science communication stirs up controversy, by Elisabeth Pain
Virginie Tournay, an innovation sociologist at SciencePo Paris and member of ASIF’s sponsoring committee, has long advocated for the creation of a “trusted third party” to fight misinformation on socially sensitive topics like biotechnology. But she does not know how the government came to include the provision for the new science and media initiative. Her proposal to coordinate science communication efforts is closer to the latest language in the bill than an SMC. But whatever initiative is put in place to reduce the gap between scientific consensus and public opinion, it “can only work in partnership with science journalists,” she says. “It would be a mistake to launch something that they consider to be a form of control or interference with their professional freedom.”
Good old days (?????): Moisson en montagne, par René Seyssaud (1900)
With foreign tourists gone, Balinese rediscover seaweed farming, in Reuters, by Nyimas Laula & Sultan Anshori
I Putu Astawa, head of the Bali Tourism Board, said visitors were still needed because “agriculture alone could not get Bali’s economy back to normal”.
But some locals, like teacher and seaweed farmer Wayan Ujiana, 51, are taking the pandemic as a lesson not to depend too much on tourism: “Don’t forget to diversify your income, so when problems happen we do not collapse.”
UK hospitals already using Trump antibody drug, says expert (it is not hydroxychloroquine!)
Oxford University professor says experimental treatment is promising and ‘very potent’.
Prof Peter Horby, who is part of Oxford University’s national Recovery trial, which aims to identify potential treatments for Covid-19, said “about three hospitals in the north” began using the drug last weekend. He said the drug was due to be rolled out to another 30 to 40 UK hospitals next week.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the drug, REGN-COV2, was “very promising” and “very potent”.
“The class of drugs, these artificial antibodies, have been around for quite a while now, and they’ve been extensively used in inflammatory conditions and cancers, and they’re pretty safe and well understood, and so the technology is something that I think we have confidence in,” Horby said.
“This particular drug has probably been given to, I would think now, four or five hundred patients, mild or severe patients in different trials, and so far there’s been no worrying safety signals.
“In the laboratory, in cell cultures, it has a very strong effect against the virus, and there have been studies in artificial animals where it also shows benefits. So probably of the drugs that are available, it’s one of the most promising.”
Horby said a single dose of the treatment provided prolonged protection for a month to six weeks, making it “quite attractive for the older population”.
Where Trump went (and who he was with) leading up to his coronavirus diagnosis
Trump announced Friday he tested positive for the coronavirus. He spent much of the last week traveling and surrounded by people.
Pandemic crisis: Global economic recovery tracker
Russia is spreading lies about Covid vaccines, says UK military chief
Head of armed forces says both China and Russia trying to undermine cohesion in west.
Russia is seeking to destabilise countries around the world by sowing disinformation about coronavirus vaccines that is shared rapidly across social media, the head of the armed forces has warned.
Gen Sir Nick Carter, the chief of defence staff, said the propaganda tactic reflected a strategy of “political warfare” aggressively undertaken by Beijing as well as Moscow “designed to undermine cohesion” across the west.
In July, a fake press release was posted to websites of the pro-Russian self-declared state in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. It falsely claimed that the US had conducted vaccine trials on Ukrainian volunteers, some of whom had died.
The trials never happened but the misleading narrative spread in several languages, including on a prominent Australian anti-vaccination Facebook group, despite multiple attempts to fact-check and debunk it.
Carter said it was an example of “digital authoritarianism” alongside well-known Kremlin cyber and hacking attacks, in a rare policy speech delivered with the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, sitting alongside him.
A similar approach was adopted by China, he added, where “the Chinese Communist party is forging a future of mass surveillance” and ranking and monitoring of individuals based on how they behave online.
The speech comes in the run-up to a five-year integrated review of defence and foreign policy that is expected to see the UK seek to invest more heavily in cyber and covert capabilities, reflecting a belief that Britain is already engaged in a persistent low-level conflict with authoritarian rivals.
Pesticide hypocrisy? EU edges toward banning glyphosate after finding it safe but clears organic copper sulfate after finding it a ‘public health and environment concern’, by Andrew Porterfield
A swarm of activists, by James Njoroge
The bottom line is that if Kenya — and other African countries – give-in to the demands of EU anti-technology campaigners, it will lose control of its agriculture and economic future. Just consider how complying with EU pesticide standards would’ve crippled efforts to control ravenous, crop-destroying locust swarms. Low yield European agriculture is no path for Kenya or Africa to build real food sustainability, security or wealth. Without access to modern farming technologies – pesticides, GMOs, gene-edited crops and more — Africa’s famers will continue struggling to feed themselves. Allowing the EU to control the destiny of Africa’s agriculture could, in the end, be the most destructive plague of all.
Good old days (?????): Le semeur par Vincent van Gogh (1882)
The cat and the dogs
A Doberman, a Golden Retriever and a cat died and met God. God said to them, “Tell me why I should let you into heaven.”
The Doberman said, “I’ll protect you with my life.”
God said, “You can sit at my right side.”
The Golden Retriever said, “I will fetch your slippers and anything else you ask me to.”
God said, “Then you can sit at my left side.”
Finally, God looked at the cat and said, “And what will you do?”
The cat said, “Excuse me. I think you’re sitting in my seat.”
Good old days (?????): Paysage d'Ouessant : La récolte des pommes de terre par René T. Eschapasse (1905-1957)
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