Partner Spotlight: Revolutionizing Agriculture Through Digital Innovation and Sustainability

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Community Hub.



As part of the Microsoft #BuildFor2030 Initiative, which aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we are committed to showcasing solutions that drive meaningful societal impact and spotlighting our partners' growth stories on the marketplace. In this edition of our Partner Spotlight series, we continue highlighting partners at the forefront of app innovation on the commercial marketplace. Throughout the series, we will be telling the unique stories of partners who are leading the way with AI in app development, who are building using multiple Microsoft products, and who are publishing transactable applications on the marketplace. In this article, Microsoft's @Gena_Goh at down with AGRIVI's Matija Zulj to learn more about their story and partner journey.


About Matija: Matija is a founder and CEO at AGRIVIan AgTech company that delivers digital agriculture solutions across the agrifood value chain, with the vision to change the way food is produced. With a focus on AI, innovation, sustainability, and support for farmers, AGRIVI plays a key role in improving the entire agrifood ecosystem. Matija serves as a European Innovation Council Ambassador, OECD-FAO Advisory Group Member for Responsible Ag Supply Chains, and UN Global Compact Board Member Croatia.


About Gena:  Gena Goh is the Partner Advisory & Inclusive Growth Senior Strategy Lead with the Global Partner Solutions business at Microsoft. She focuses on developing strategies that elevate the voice of partner and enable partners to innovate and build solutions toward a more inclusive economy, including leading the Microsoft #BuildFor2030 Initiative. Gena is also a professionally trained co-active coach and enjoys helping people and organizations chart new paths to purpose and impact.



[GG]: Tell us about Agrivi and your mission. What inspired the founding?

[MZ]: AGRIVI was born with a powerful mission – to solve the global food problem by changing the way food is produced. It all began by seeing and witnessing that our current food ecosystem is broken, due to climate change, inefficient supply chains, and unsafe food.

Namely, with the global population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, urgent changes are needed to ensure a future with healthy, nutritious, and climate-friendly food while securing livelihoods for farmers worldwide. Thus, embracing digital transformation becomes imperative to revolutionize the entire industry.


At AGRIVI, we are dedicated to driving this transformation by focusing on technology, innovation, and sustainability in improving the agrifood sector. Our mission is to empower farmers and agrifood companies with intelligent technology solutions, facilitating economically and environmentally sustainable and traceable food production.


We achieve this by digitalizing farm businesses, enhancing food transparency and safety, promoting regenerative agriculture practices, and offering farmers AI-powered advice and knowledge. We prioritize both digitalizing farming methods and fostering collaboration across the agrifood value chain.


[GG]: Can you tell us a bit about the application(s) you have available on the marketplace? How does it work? [You can also include a hyperlink to the application on the marketplace so that we can link to it in the blog]

[MZ]: Our comprehensive farm management software (FMS) leveraged through Microsoft Azure technology, equips farms worldwide with data-driven tools and real-time insights from the field to make precise agronomic and economic decisions and maximize productivity, profitability and sustainability.


With one centralized platform, farmers can manage their farm and have full control over all processes throughout the season. From creating a crop plan and budget for the season, minimizing risks and crop damage based on insights from the field such as weather conditions, pest alarms, or vegetation indices, monitoring the execution of work in the field, monitoring costs, and ensuring the complete traceability of crop production.


Insights based on data and actual field conditions enable farmers and companies to make informed choices about planting, fertilizing, and protection of crops, irrigation, and other parts of the production cycle. Data-driven farm management increases production efficiency and product quality and reduces resource consumption and food waste caused by quality and safety issues, which overall contributes to the preservation of the environment and the reduction of the negative effects of agriculture on the environment.


[GG]: AI is top of mind for all of us. How is AGRIVI leveraging or planning to leverage AI in app development? 

[MZ]: Despite many agtech solutions being available, we are witnessing that technology adoption remained limited mainly to professional farmers and enterprises. Technology in agriculture was not simple and intuitive enough to reach all farmers leaving around 500 million farms still not digitalized.


Recognizing this gap, last year we launched AGRIVI Ed, an Agronomic AI advisor designed to democratize access to technology and revolutionize how farmers access knowledge and make decisions. AGRIVI Ed acts as an expert agronomic advisor available 24/7, supporting over 50 languages and accessible through messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Viber to make it intuitive and seamless for farmers to use, regardless of their technological knowledge.


Thanks to Azure OpenAI service and Copilot that uses Generative AI and different domain AI services we have trained our AI advisor to deliver high quality and extensive agronomic knowledge and drive seamless communication with the end-users. To expand our impact further, we've introduced this solution to the market as AGRIVI Engage, a fully managed B2B whitelabeled platform for agrifood companies and the public sector. This collaborative approach is enabling us to accelerate the adoption of technology and drive positive change globally.


Personalized AI Advisor enables companies and organizations to provide farmers with constant access to information, knowledge, and advice. It fosters active collaboration and upskilling farmers toward digital transformation, while helping companies to increase their market share, engage with their customers and drive decarbonization in their supply chains.


[GG]: What Microsoft cloud products did you use in your app development? 

[MZ]: We have developed our products with a comprehensive technology stack, including Microsoft Azure Cloud, Microsoft.NET, Azure OpenAI Services, CoPilot and many others.


[GG]: How has Microsoft supported you along your journey? 

[MZ]: AGRIVI has participated in Microsoft Founders Hub program and Entrepreneurship for Positive Impact Program. Through these programs, we had access to a substantial set of complimentary Microsoft products, technical support and go-to-market services, and coaching by senior leaders at Microsoft. For a fast-growing company, such support means a lot.


[GG]: Agrivi is a part of Microsoft’s Entrepreneurship for Positive Impact, supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). How does being a part of this program align with the values and mission of your company?

[MZ]: Our solution is not just in bringing a simple farming app to growers, we aim to develop cutting-edge technology solutions and leverage the power of AI to support farmers be more efficient and profitable, to reduce waste, and to lower barriers to entry for a new generation of farmers. ​

Doing positive impact requires partnerships, which is why getting the opportunity to participate in Microsoft’s Entrepreneurship for Positive Impact program enabled us with high level support to navigate through our strategic and go-to-market challenges. The knowledge and mentorship, as well as visibility through the program truly helps us to scale our impact to the next level.


[GG]: Can you share examples of your work with customers that has enabled positive business and sustainability outcomes?

[MZ]: We recently launched AI agronomic advisors in collaboration with local municipalities in Croatia, which have decided to adopt this innovative technology recognizing its importance for local agriculture. These local municipalities have introduced their own personalized AI communication platform to farmers across Croatia.


Through the WhatsApp platform, the advisor provides seamless access to high-quality knowledge, information, and advice for farmers. They cover a wide spectrum of agronomic topics, from general agricultural inquiries to pest control, disease prevention, plant nutrition, fertilization, and regenerative practices. Additionally, they facilitate active collaboration between local municipalities and farmers. They give farmers easy access to information about tenders or subsidies and allow them to provide feedback on local policies, making them more involved in strategic plans and community matters.


As local governments worldwide grapple with challenges in maintaining sustainable agricultural production, farmers face disruptions due to climate change, labor shortages, and limited access to knowledge and advice. Supporting farmers to sustain and secure local food production has never been more critical.


That's why by providing farmers with information and advice and enabling direct engagement with local authorities, the local municipalities, as the main providers of this innovative tool, have the opportunity to receive regular feedback from their local farmers which helps preserve local crop production and encourages sustainability within the community.


[GG]: How do you engage and educate your customers about sustainability, and what are some ways you encourage them to make solution investments that drive sustainability?

[MZ]: After 10 years of business in agtech industry, we are still facing the biggest challenge - changing the habit of making decisions based on intuition towards data-driven and fact-based decision-making. Transformation takes time, and on top of building products that solve real-life problems, it requires education in the industry, new skillsets, new regulatory and legislation systems, collaboration of the entire value chain, patient capital and much more.


That’s why we see our role as a technology provider but also as an educator. We are very active in raising awareness and educating our customers across the entire agrifood value chain about how our solutions help them transform traditional agriculture practices to more data-driven and climate-friendly, and how to leverage data and technology to empower sustainable practices and calculate their contribution to this matter.


Global food production is in a very bad state and there is a need for urgent change. Luckily regulatory requirements for making the food sector more productive and sustainable will soon require companies to change, and our role here is to help them navigate the change and embrace the opportunity that is in front of them.


That's why we actively participate in global initiatives serving as the UN Global Compact Board member in Croatia, OECD-FAO Advisory Group member for Responsible Agriculture Supply Chains, and ambassadors at EIC. We actively encourage, improve, and advocate for digital transformation of the entire agri-food industry. 


[GG]: Have you collaborated with other partners or community organizations in the Microsoft ecosystem? How has this collaboration been beneficial?

[MZ]: We are proud and grateful that we had the opportunity to present AGRIVI’s AI solutions during the World Economic Forum in Davos in collaboration with Microsoft, Schwab Foundation and SAP. Also, we had the opportunity to partner with diverse divisions within Microsoft, including Microsoft Research team that has supported the development of our AI solutions during the Hackathon for positive impact and we have jointly showcased it during the World AgriTech Innovation Summit in San Francisco.


[GG]: What are you most proud of in your journey building/leading Agrivi? What’s next?

[MZ]: For me, everything is about people. The great, passionate team of experts that stand behind AGRIVI is the thing I am most proud of. Their dedication, passion, and tireless efforts are the driving force behind AGRIVI’s success, transforming my vision from 10 years ago into a truly great impact we are making today.


With more experience and expertise from the industry, and thanks to Microsoft’s mentorship, we have been able to accelerate our impact. So, we are remaining committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation and expanding our reach to even more farmers globally. Our vision is to create a future where agriculture is able to feed the entire global population in a productive and sustainable way, and we believe that by harnessing the power of technology, we can make this vision a reality.






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