The company uses geospatial data to provide services related to agriculture and the environment.
TerraNIS, a French company that provides services and advice on the processing of geospatial data - particularly, satellite images - for agriculture and the environment, has chosen Chile for its first subsidiary outside Europe. TerraNIS was founded in 2014 by Marc Tondriaux and David Hello, who had previously worked for more than 25 years in project management in the aerospace and remote sensing area for the giant Airbus Defense and Space.
Christophe Duquenne, commercial manager of TerraNIS Chile, explains that the use of geospatial data in agriculture is a tool that provides accurate and reliable information for optimal decision-making, helping to detect areas of less vigorous growth or higher yields. This, in turn, permits differentiated land management plans according to its needs: adapted and localized fertilization, differentiated harvests, inspections and sampling.
“For example, with Oenoview, a vineyard can save between 20% and 30% on fertilizers and, at the same time, take care of the environment. It is possible to monitor the vigor of the vine with a spatial resolution of 1.5 m, using the mobile app (with or without internet access), record your comments, take geolocated samples and adjust practices in line with production targets with the help of expert winemakers,” explains Duquenne.
The company, supported by InvestChile and present in Chile since 2017, decided to set up a subsidiary in Santiago due to its numerous projects in the Chilean market. “Within South America, Chile already interested us in 2017, since, with its 150,000 hectares of vineyards and economic stability, it seemed an ideal market to test our products. Now we have repeat customers and experience in this market,” says Duquenne.
In Chile, the company has diversified its services beyond agriculture (where it has Pixagri, CropEO, Fertisat and Wago) and winegrowing (Oenoview) and has expanded into products for forest areas, land occupation, vegetation and urban trees (Greencity), heat zones in cities and the management and planning of urban areas and agricultural land. In line with this, Duquenne comments that the company is closing a joint project with the Natural Resources Information Center (CIREN) related to the fires that affected the Concepción Province in 2017.
“The project is for the development of an operational service that includes the detection of fires, the type of soil and use of the affected land, the severity of the fires and the impact on the vegetation as well as the post-fire evolution of the vegetation. This project is part of an H2020 European Union fund that was launched in November 2019,” he says.
Regarding the option of using Chile as a platform, Duquenne points out that this is the idea the company has had since its arrival in the country. He reports that it already has its first project in Peru. “We are convinced that, from Chile, we will be able to reach other markets such as Argentina, which has a large area of vineyards; Peru, Brazil and Ecuador, which offer very interesting opportunities in precision agriculture; and Colombia, which is also a market with a rapidly growing agricultural sector,” he says.
In addition, TerraNIS is the relay in Chile of the Copernicus network. It is in a privileged position to provide information about the European earth observation program, which offers data services based on satellite and in situ observations. “In Chile, three actors are part of this program (the University of Chile and EuroChile), which positions us as a point of reference in the country for the use of geospatial data from the European Space Agency (ESA) and for its dissemination,” explains Duquenne.
InvestChile is working to develop agtech (precision agriculture) with overseas companies and international funds interested in Chile’s potential in the region. This sector is one of the pillars of the food strategy the Agency is implementing.
“Agriculture has become professionalized and is ever more demanding in the use of its resources and the optimization of yields. This explains why foreign investment (by both funds and agtech companies) helps us to identify these solutions that a farmer or company may be looking at today and, with the help of technology, will find an optimal solution to their challenges,” said InvestChile investment promotion executive, Cristián Sagal.
To find out more about investment opportunities in Chile, see this article.