Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies (ASX:ROO) co-founders, Dr. Sharon Devir and Boaz Wachtel talk about its Root Zone Temperature Optimisation technology, installations and trial results.
Jessica Amir: Thanks for tuning into the Finance News Network, I’m Jessica Amir. Joining us today from Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Limited (ASX:ROO) are co-founders, Dr Sharon Devir and Boaz Wachtel. Sharon, Boaz, welcome back and thanks for joining us from Israel.
Boaz Wachtel: Good day.
Dr Sharon Devir: Good day.
Jessica Amir: First up, Roots is developing technology to improve the output of high quality crops. Could you tell us more?
Boaz Wachtel: Roots has developed two technologies. One of them is roots zone heating and cooling, meaning we heat and cool the roots and not the canopy. And that increases yield dramatically, improves quality, shortens growing cycles and many other benefits, including energy savings. And the other technology we have developed is irrigation by condensation, whereby we irrigate just with humidity from the air.
Jessica Amir: What’s the uniqueness of your technology?
Dr Sharon Devir: We have several uniqueness in this technology. First of all we are the only system, which can heat and cool together. As far as we are aware of we are the only company, which introduced to the market, a working economical scalable system for cooling the root zone.
Jessica Amir: What’s your commercial focus today?
Dr Sharon Devir: I have to say we have the technology, the RZTO, the root zone temperature control is a commercial product. Currently we’re acting in six jurisdictions. In one we’re acting on the R&D level in the US on the cannabis, in two other jurisdictions already on the piloting level, this is in Australia and in Spain. In the other three territories, we have already started sales, in China, in South Korea and Israel.
Jessica Amir: Where do you see the greatest need?
Boaz Wachtel: Overall as the population increases globally and areas for agriculture are shrinking, high value crops are moving to greenhouses and to more density growing. And our technology helps farmers address severe weather conditions, with less energy use. We increase yield, therefore, the farmer can earn more money, the return investment is very attractive for farmers. So we fit into global agricultural trends.
Jessica Amir: What about government subsidies for this energy saving technology?
Dr Sharon Devir: The Israeli Government is now recognising in each basil system, there is a sustainable one. And each farmer in Israel, who’ll buy a good system for basil, will get 30 per cent subsidy by the Israeli Government.
Boaz Wachtel: That is a major breakthrough for us. As the Minister for Agriculture, after lengthy scrutiny of the technology and its economic terms came to the conclusion, that it’s very beneficial for the farmer, also from an energy point of view.
Jessica Amir: What can you tell us about results and technology?
Dr Sharon Devir: In terms of results, we have achieved in the last winter by heating the roots of the basil, we have gained 66 per cent of additional energy. By cooling for example, we have managed to double the yield of chives and lettuce. We have also good results by cooling cucumbers, about 20 per cent and heating almost doubled the amount of the yield. In strawberries, we have 30 per cent and we have managed to be in the market three weeks before. And recently, we have just published the midterm results of the cannabis cooling, in which we increased the vegetative improvement in more than 50 per cent.
Jessica Amir: Thanks Sharon, over to you Boaz. Just give us an update on the other key technology, irrigation by condensation?
Boaz Wachtel: Irrigation by condensation is a technology, whereby we condense the humidity in the air on pipes with cold running water. It’s a closed cycle system; we have two versions basically, basic versions. One is an electric power cooling of the water and circulation. The second one is solar powered cooling and we have grown eight crops thus far, showing the ability to use humidity in the air, as the sole source of water for irrigation. And that is a very radical development for Roots (ASX:ROO) and I think generally, for many farmers who lack access to water, either well water or some other, any water at all.
So in the absence of any water, there is now a solution where you can irrigate with humidity in the air. We irrigate at night when there is high humidity and this technology, fits many areas around the world. We are in the process to reduce the cost of these systems and we’re moving full force, to commercialise it in the next few months.
Jessica Amir: Now to financials and your share price. What’s the outlook for revenues, and can you give us a comment about your share price since listing?
Dr Sharon Devir: The Company was listed on 20 cents. Since then, we have traded most of the time more than 30 cents. The total income, we have already started sales in terms of a couple of hundred thousand dollars. That can be reflected in our last quarterly report. And we believe next year, we will do two to four times more than what we have reported until today.
Jessica Amir: Lastly, is there anything that you would like to add?
Dr Sharon Devir: I think as a company, which copes with the food shortage, we can bring to investors two major benefits. On one hand, having a good company with a disruptive technology to heating and cooling roots, which does not exist in the world. On the other hand, the ability to support the food shortage, which has come to us.
Jessica Amir: Sharon Devir, Boaz Wachtel, thank you so much for the update.
Boaz Wachtel: Thank you.