The Brazilian agtech company Dioxd claims it can increase bean and soybean seed productivity by 12% using carbon dioxide. By adding carbon dioxide to big bags filled with seeds, the seed’s metabolism is increased.
Dioxd uses sensors and software to measure the atmospheric conditions inside the seeds bags, said João Barboza, founder of the company. Then the seeds are treated with carbon dioxide (CO2). “After a 40 minutes treatment the seeds are improved. Carbon is part of everything. Seeds are not different”, Barboza said.
Field tests were completed in Luís Eduardo Magalhães, in Bahia state. The field tests were reviewed and approved by Kasuya Inteligência Agronômica, an agronomic engineering company in that region. After the approval, Dioxd received R$ 1,4 million (250,000 USD) from several investors (Cycklo Agritech, Great Venture and AgroVen) in order to further develop and scale up the technology.
According to João Barboza, the investment allows Dioxd to improve its software for measuring temperature, humidity and CO2 concentration control, which is pivotal during the applications of carbon dioxide in soy and bean seeds.
He says the goal is to strengthen operations in Matopiba and, in the second phase, expand operations to the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul.
Dioxd is part of a group of 10 start-ups, supported by Cyklo Agritech in Matopiba. This region includes agricultural areas in Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia. This large area of 71 million hectares is designated as the last ‘new frontier’ for agriculture in Brazil.
“With the investment, Dioxd will be able to make its technology avaialble to a greater number of farmers in Matopiba and other agricultural producing regions”, said out Pompeo Scola, CEO at Cyklo Agritech.
Scola said Dioxd has been part of Cyklo Agritech’s acceleration program for 9 months, during which the value of the company increased to R$ 10 million (1,8 million USD). Two other start-ups have also received financial support after participating in Cyklo Agritech´s program. They are SS Crop, dedicated to farm management, and Aproxima Grãos, a grain trade platform. Like Dioxd, these start-ups are now worth R$ 10 million). Two other start-ups in the accelaration program, Kalliandra and Agro Insight, are also currently talking to possible investors.
Scola says the interesting thing is the majority of the investments comes from farmers who see a huge potential in creating value with investments in agtech start-ups. “Although it is a venture capital market, we expect to recoup the investment four times over and that all start-ups that have participated in the program in 2020 will increase in value,” Scola said.