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Feed system secures $2 million funding

14 December 2018, at 10:44a.m.

Umitron, a producer of AI-based feeding systems, has secured US $2 million in funding for a project that aims to improve the efficiency and sustainability of rainbow trout farmers in Peru.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) innovation laboratory is funding the project, with hopes of improving the economic and environmental sustainability of Lake Titicaca’s trout farming industry.

Lake Titicaca, which has a stable year-round temperature and clean, clear waters has the perfect conditions for growing rainbow trout
Lake Titicaca, which has a stable year-round temperature and clean, clear waters has the perfect conditions for growing rainbow trout

Umitron will be providing the systems to Piscifactorias de los Andes (Piscis), one of the largest trout farmers in Peru, which also operate two trout processing facilities that create high-value products for export to Asian, North American, and European markets. Piscis has ambitious growth plans and is looking for opportunities to utilise technology to improve their operations.

The local Peruvian trout industry is growing, with 100,000 tonnes of production in 2016 – a figure that’s projected to grow to 221,000 tonnes by 2030.

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According to Umitron, its AI-powered feeding technology allows each cage to be remotely monitored and fed, reducing farmers’ needs to be in the boat in dangerous weather, while the automated feeder also has the capability to reduce overfeeding and improve overall feed use efficiency. This benefits both the farmer’s bottom line, and the environment’s health by reducing the chances of conditions that lead to harmful algae blooms.

"Through our daily operation, we see challenges in aquaculture from various perspectives such as the level of technology, the stability and safety of the food supply, and the long term economic and environmental sustainability of farms. Finding solutions requires borderless collaboration between the public and private sector. We're delighted to start this project with IDB Lab and Abaco/Piscis to create a successful model for future growth. We hope this technology driven collaboration encourages sustainable aquaculture and contributes to both the local economy and global issues," said Masahiko Yamada, Umitron’s MD.

The $2 million grant will be used by Umitron and Piscis to test and calibrate the technology. Additionally, funds will be used to both train local producers to increase their familiarity with the products, and to develop a plan for scaling up the system to reach other farmers in the Lake Titicaca region. The end goal is to implement real-time data-driven aquaculture feeding technology for farmers in both Peru and, eventually, all of Latin America.

Through impact investment, Umitron is now looking for similar public private partnerships where they can assist aquaculture producers to increase their ability to deliver high-quality, sustainably grown products in both Latin America and beyond.