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PMA Takes on Tech top episodes in 2021

pma takes on tech

What a year for the produce industry and technology! What I love about this industry is the variety of people, products and geographies.

Stuck in my house with limited travel for a good portion of the year, PMA Takes on Tech BB #:153708 allowed me and our listeners to travel the world and have conversation with the people, companies and technologies that make up this industry.

During COVID, I missed traveling and hearing the problems and innovative solutions from around the world. This year we visited Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, Israel, and Chile (virtually) to understand their AgTech ecosystems.

These conversations in aggregate gave a view of how important ecosystems are to the development and deployment of new technical solutions to global industry issues.

Seventy-eight guests this year shared with me their passion for our industry. They came from many places, both in terms of geography, their roles, and the ways in which they impact the industry.

These conversations were downloaded over 200,000 this year.

While I don’t know who you are, I THANK YOU for letting me spend 30-40 minutes with you many a week. We will have a new name next year, but I look forward to bringing you continued impactful content with a new look from International Fresh Produce.

Here are the top 5 Downloaded episodes in 2021:

Bolthouse carrots

#5 Spotlight – Future View From the C-Suite: Bolthouse Farms 
Bolthouse Farms is a powerhouse in innovation, both market innovation and production. In this episode, we speak to two executives from Bolthouse Farms about their innovation journey. The Bolthouse Farms story is a great business case on what innovation and collaboration can bring to a company. Innovation is woven through everything they do and think about.

On the podcast:
Zak Karlen – General Manager Farms
Michael Rosenthal – CFO, GM and Chief Innovation Officer

#4 AgTech Investing: Where is Smart Money Going?
Understanding where investors put their money in 2020 helped guide predictions for 2021. In this session taped in early 2021, Ingrid Fung, Investment Director with Finistere Ventures, discusses what areas of agricultural technology venture capitalists invested in in 2020. We will also hear from AgTech companies about what it took to weather COVID-19 and fundraise during such a difficult year.

Ingrid Fung, Investment Director, Finistere Ventures
Jacqueline Heard, Founder & CEO, Enko Chem, Inc.
Han Chen, Co-founder and CEO, ZeaKal, Inc.

#3 Singapore’s Well-Designed AgTech Ecosystem
With little farming land, Singapore imports 90% of the food it consumes. Coupled with the recent supply chain shocks, the government has set up a number of programs and incentives for local food production and innovation. In this episode, we hear from three companies in the well-functioning AgTech ecosystem in Singapore. Benny Chng from SGInnovate discusses the companies they are investing in currently and why food and ag are important. We also hear from Foong Yoke Oon who with her husband is building Ubertas Agritech, a vertical farm to serve Singapore. And Adrian Teo from DiMuto a global commerce solution company for the produce market. These three conversations illustrate what a good ecosystem can bring to a sector with government support, private sector financing and smart entrepreneurs.

On this podcast:
Foong Yoke Oon, Director – Ubertas AgriTech Pte Ltd
Adrian Teo, Chief Operating Officer – DiMuto
Benny Chng, Assistant Director – SGInnovate

#2 Big happenings in Israel in AgTech (Part 1)
As a global innovation hub, Israel uses novel technologies to lead the AgTech and FoodTech industry towards a more efficient and sustainable future; it serves as a global laboratory for producing more food using fewer resources. Israeli start-ups are improving traditional agriculture by introducing new, groundbreaking technologies in the field. The country has a strong ecosystem with universities, a long history in food production with multinational VC’s and corporates involved in financing along with strong government support. In Part 1 of a two-part series on Israel, we hear from experts and industry veterans on what is happening in Israel and why it is a good place to start a company. The conversation ranges from plant genetics to hyperspectral machine vision technology to supply chain disruption and innovation. Across the entire supply chain from seed to fork, the country of nine million people is full of companies working on cutting-edge innovation.

On this podcast:
Oded Distel CEO Tal-ya Agriculture solutions
Ohad Zuckerman Managing Partner at COPIA Agro& Food Technologies Fund
Raviv Kula CEO of Fruit Spec
Elad Mardix President Clarifruit

Part 2 of Big Happenings in Israel also highlights some great companies.

#1 Driscoll’s and Plenty: The Best of GxE and Beyond!
Join the conversation with Nate Storey of Plenty and Scott Komar of Driscoll’s about their R&D collaboration. Driscoll’s and Plenty are partnering to bring berries with superior flavor to all regions of the world. Plenty will incorporate Driscoll’s proprietary genetics and berry expertise into its advanced, indoor farming technology using its plant science, data science, and robotics expertise. Through this controlled environment, Plenty can consistently deliver great flavors from Driscoll’s varieties, while also optimizing for texture and size. The indoor environment allows companies to meet the future needs of consumers worldwide, including geographical locations that are not hospitable to growing strawberries.

Nate Storey: Co-founder and Chief Science Officer, Plenty
Scott Komar – Senior Vice President of Global R&D, Driscoll’s

Thank you to all our sponsors, guests and listeners. Please be in touch with any ideas, technologies, or companies you would like us to take on. Happy Holidays and see you next year!


Vonnie Estes is Vice President, Technology for the Produce Marketing Association, and she hosts the PMA Takes on Tech Podcast.