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Startup Spotlight: UAE-Based Egrobots Is Enabling Early Detection Of Crop Diseases In The MENA Egrobots' robots can navigate complex terrain and confined spaces, ensuring access to hard-to-reach areas, and are equipped with sensors for comprehensive data collection.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Akhlad Alabhar, co-founder and CEO, Egrobots

This article is part of an ongoing series covering startups that have been a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program.

As the UAE and wider parts of the MENA region find ways to strengthen their agricultural ecosystems, there has been one area that has required added attention: detection of crop diseases. Enter Egrobots, a UAE-based agritech startup that leverages robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to offer farmers data-driven solutions that can enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability.

"Egrobots is based on the key belief that efficient data collection and analysis are crucial for advancing the farming sector," explains Akhlad Alabhar, the Egyptian co-founder and CEO of Egrobots. "We are thus tackling the significant problem of undetected diseases in agriculture, which, as reported by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, cost the global economy approximately US$220 billion annually. Our innovative use of robots and AI provides a solution that detects diseases early, improves crop yields, and reduces losses, contributing to a more sustainable and economically viable agriculture sector."

Launched in 2022 by Alabhar along with co-founders Hanan Sabry and Ahmed Thabet, Egrobots has come up with three distinct services to realize its underlying vision. These include: Egro Scout, a robotics scouting service that employs autonomous robots to collect data from various farms; Egro Scan, a mobile application designed to offer small farmers instant crop disease detection and personalized recommendations; and Egro Care, an all-in-one farm management application.

Source: Egrobots

"With Egro Scout, the data is analyzed using advanced AI models, generating detailed per-tree reports, detecting diseases, and providing recommendations," Alabhar elaborates. "Unique identifications are then assigned to each tree, allowing for the storage of historical data and facilitating informed decision-making. This service, having successfully scanned 300 acres of farmland, offers comprehensive farm analysis, disease detection, and precise recommendations, enhancing agricultural efficiency. Egro Scan, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in helping farmers promptly identify and address plant diseases, leading to healthier crops and reduced losses. The app has gained significant traction, boasting over 13,000 users across seven different countries. And finally, having garnered over 500 users, Egro Care's robust platform streamlines farm operations and data analysis, contributing to improved agricultural efficiency."

Related: Startup Spotlight: Lebanon-Based Agritech YY Regen Aims To Transform How The Nation's Farming Sector Is Powered

With a revenue model that includes subscription-based services, one-time service fees, as well as licensing arrangements tailored to the specific needs of clients, Egrobots has ensured that its advanced farming technologies have been made more accessible to farmers.

And it is precisely in the tech that it adopts that Egrobots' key differentiating factor lies, Alabhar says. "Our robots adeptly navigate complex terrain and confined spaces, ensuring access to hard-to-reach areas, and are equipped with sensors for comprehensive data collection including high-resolution images and real-time analysis," he explains. "Capable of operating at night or in low-light conditions, our robots function for extended periods and in challenging environments. Unlike drones and satellites, they can manipulate objects and perform physical tasks, significantly enhancing their utility in agriculture. Furthermore, Egrobots is notable for being the first native Arabic system using local products for recommendations in each country, catering specifically to regional agricultural needs."

Equipped with a sense of purpose, Alabhar and his team believe their startup has what it takes to create a significant shift within the regional agricultural sector. And that belief only seems to have strengthened through Egrobots' participation in the MBRIF Innovation Accelerator Program. "Our journey as a startup in Dubai has been significantly enhanced with the support of the MBRIF program," Alabhar shares. "This backing was instrumental in forming a partnership with one of the leaders in the agriculture market in the GCC, Greener Crop [a farm management firm located in Dubai Science Park]. This collaboration has enabled us to distribute Egrobots' products in the UAE and the KSA, significantly expanding our reach and impact in these key markets. The partnership with Greener Crop underlines our commitment to revolutionizing agriculture through technology and innovation, facilitated by strategic alliances and support from forward-thinking programs like the MBRIF's."

Related: Startup Spotlight: Tunisia-Based RoboCare's Tech-Driven Agronomic Solutions Help Farmers Navigate Climate-Change-Related Issues

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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