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Walmart’s newest pilot utilizes technology to mitigate effects of climate change

The new pilot leverages Agritask’s emerging technology to strengthen supply chain from field-to-store shelf, the retailer said.

Walmart announced a strategic partnership with Agritask, a crop supply intelligence company, to pilot a technology solution in collaboration with Walmart Global Tech’s Sparkubate program that is geared to enable sourcing managers to make more well-informed decisions on seasonal fruit crop yields such as cherries and blackberries. 

The Agritask initiative aims to secure surety of supply, reduce food waste and guarantee fresh produce for shoppers. Pending the pilot results, the retailer may consider leveraging Agritask solutions and insights at scale for a second season. 

The pilot will deploy Agritask’s remote sensing and data analytics tools in various regions in the U.S. and Mexico to provide real-time, hyperlocal insights on seasonal blackberry and cherry crops from select Walmart suppliers. These crops were selected due to their high sensitivity to temperature fluctuations and moisture levels, which can significantly affect their growth, quality, transport and shelf life. Through real-time monitoring, the collaboration will drive rapid response to adverse environmental conditions to better manage supply and, thereby, enhance overall produce quality.

[Read more: Pharmacy Innovator of the Year 2021: Walmart connects with communities]

Examples of insights include: 

  • Immediate alerts on emerging or forming risks and their potential impact on target crops, such as an unexpected frost harming a cherry harvest, enabling Walmart to adjust procurement strategies swiftly.
  • Real-time assessment of timing, delays, or advances in expected harvest, allowing Walmart to proactively manage inventory levels and explore alternative sourcing options.
  • Updated indications on meeting yield targets throughout the growing season, empowering Walmart to optimize supply chain logistics and ensure sufficient product availability for customers.

"Dealing with challenges in purchasing and planning accuracy in agriculture due to data discrepancies and environmental uncertainties can be tough. Agritask’s technology has the potential to fill vital information gaps that sourcing managers often face when predicting yield," said Kyle Carlyle, vice president of sourcing innovation and surety of supply at Walmart. "Teaming up with Agritask enables Walmart to delve into more streamlined and sustainable sourcing practices, ensuring we consistently deliver fresh, high-quality products to meet customer demand."

“Walmart’s global scale and commitment to strengthening sustainable supply chains makes them the ideal partner for Agritask’s tech solutions,” said Ofir Ardon, CEO of Agritask. “We are thrilled to have Walmart become the first retail partner to integrate Yield Intelligence, adopting our data-driven innovation built on 15 years of optimizing agricultural supply chains to reshape how enterprises collaborate with suppliers. Together, we are uniquely positioned to implement scalable, climate-smart and risk-ready solutions that optimize sourcing from the ground up.”

[Read more: Walmart partners with Consumers Energy in Michigan]

The pilot with Agritask is Walmart's latest initiative in its long-term commitment to leverage technology for a sustainable and resilient supply chain. With a history of meaningful tech partnerships, such as unspun's 3D weaving technology pilot and Rubi Laboratory’s carbon capture pilot, Walmart is striving to continuously innovate to bridge gaps within its global supply chain.

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