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Farming makes an impact –
via an app

Using technology as a tool for investment doesn’t often involve environmental sustainability – until one discovers “impact farming” via an app, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The app provides a timeline of returns from all these assets, teaching both patience and investment strategy.

As Fedgroup CEO Grant Field explained at the time: “Returns are not guaranteed, but it’s not speculative. These are financial models on which we spent a lot of time. It’s not a policy; you own an asset. You own a bush, and get returns from that bush. We’ve serialised every bush, every panel, so everyone has it specifically allocated. In theory, you could visit your investment.”

The farms on which one’s bushes and beehives are located are identified in the app, as are the sites of the solar panels.

“If you look at what’s happened in the rest of the investment landscape, equities, property, you name it, there have been such huge losses in the market, but these raw assets have really been performing really nicely,” he said in an interview this month. “We had a one-in-57 year frost event on our blueberries, just as Covid-19 hit, but our forecasting models were conservative, so we still are ahead of the projections on pretty much everything.”

With the first three assets proving themselves, Fedgroup is preparing to expand its horizons.

“We’ve got a lot more work to do,” says Field. “Those first three assets were around testing the concept but also testing the app, testing the interface with people. We didn’t want to upset that broker market; they are very important in terms of the work that they’re doing with other products like insurance. But we’ve got a lot more lined up that we’re trying to enter, and Covid-19 has been a temporary distraction. The next big release will be exciting.”

However, the big innovation for this sector lies not in the product set, but in the way that the assets are managed. Fedgroup is turning to the kind of emerging technologies that underpin the fourth industrial revolution, such as machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Read more on the next page about the IoT systems used to manage the assets.

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