The chief technology officer of SupPlant, an Israeli precision agtech company that uses data to help farms optimize their water usage, is making precision agriculture technology more accessible to women smallholder farmers around the world. 

“I live and breathe technology,” Revital Kremer, chief technology officer of SupPlant, told Jennifer Marston in a recent interview with AgFunder News.

After years working in various industries, including the military and video gaming, Kremer saw an opportunity to use her tech skills to make a difference in the world through SupPlant.

The Israeli precision agtech company collects data from on-site sensors to help farms optimize their water usage, leading to water savings and increased yields. The company was named as one of TIME‘s best inventions of 2021.

SupPlant works with 31 crop types across 14 countries and runs what Kremer says is the largest plant database in the world for irrigation. As CTO, one of Kremer’s biggest priorities is to make the precision farming system available to smallholder farmers who cannot necessarily afford sophisticated technology to monitor crops.

Kremer says SupPlant's biggest technology priorities start with hardware and enlarging the company's sensor base. The company aims to support additional types of crops, which require specific sensors and devices. SupPlant also recently launched a new product targeted at smallholder farmers who can't afford the expensive hardware solution. The new product requires the system to be scaled up to support half a billion users who operate smallholder farmers located all over the world. Kremer says her target as CTO is to provide a substantial solution for the scaled system.

To provide more precision agriculture technology to more farmers, Kremer says SupPlant will use a subset of its sensor-based solution. It’s less accurate, but it’s good enough for what smallholder farmers need to do. In Kenya, SupPlant provides statistical data and irrigation recommendations for 500,000 women farmers that grow maize.

"It’s amazing to see how they react to this," Kremer says, "and amazing to see how they even get information because it’s not very trivial to get information when you’re in Kenya and you have only one smartphone throughout the village."

Kenya is under extreme drought, and farmers must walk 15 miles to get water to water their maize, making it critical for farmers to know if it's going to rain and if the maize has enough water.  

"Most agtech companies focus on 2% of the farmers in the world," Kremer says. "We decided to make our technology accessible to the other 98% of farmers as well. Kenya is only the beginning of that." 

Making precision ag technology available to women is important to Kremer. As a woman CTO, she's well aware that the tech world is dominated by men. 

"Normally I entered the room, and most of the people are men and not always willing to hear what I have to say," Kremer says. "I really like the point in the meeting when they look up from the laptop and say, 'Hey, this girl has something to say.' I just use my knowledge and my professional skills in order to solve the problems and not anything else. So I really like the moment that people understand that women have something to say in this environment.

I have to say, at SupPlant, it’s the first time I don’t have to “prove myself” as a woman. Fifty percent of the C-level positions are occupied by women. The R&D team is 40% women in all areas, hardware, software, data, AI and so on. The atmosphere is very welcoming and very encouraging of any person regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, in terms of religions, and so on."