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Morocco's UM6P Ventures invests in Climate Crop and Akorn Technology

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Morocco’s UM6P Ventures recently invested in two agrifoodtech startups tackling food waste and crop productivity.

Globally, the climate change crisis is putting traditional agricultural systems and food security at risk. Morocco is highly susceptible to climate change, which will greatly affect crop yields.

The country’s UM6P university investment vehicle is backing gene-editing company Climate Crop and Akorn Technology, a manufacturer of natural, edible, non-GMO coatings for fresh produce.

Gene editing for tomatoes and potatoes

A graduate of the acclaimed IndieBio accelerator program, Climate Crop uses gene editing to produce crop varieties such as wheat that can yield up to 20% more than standard varieties.

The investment in the Israeli start-up aims to harness its gene-editing technology to boost the potential of Morocco’s staple crops of tomatoes and potatoes.

“The extensive scientific support system available from UM6P Ventures, coupled with the capital investment, will help Climate Crop maintain its foothold in the gene-edited food market and positively impact crop production and global food supply.” .climate crops.

UM6P Ventures said in a press release, “Climate crop solutions can help enhance food production, increase grain and industrial supply, enhance carbon sequestration and mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture.” says.

Investing in global food waste solutions

In the same week, UM6P Ventures also invested in US-based Akorn Technology.

About 1.3 tonnes of food is wasted after harvest each year. The total cost of food waste is a staggering $2.6 trillion annually. About 40% to 50% of root crops, fruits and vegetables are also lost each year.

Akorn Technology tackles this problem by manufacturing a shelf life extender for fresh produce in the form of a clean-label, plant-based protein-based edible coating.

The solution is hybrid plant protein and lipid films derived from upcycled, sustainable, non-GMO corn by-products and other plant materials. The film can be applied to a variety of fruits and vegetables to slow the ripening process, preserve the original quality of produce, and inhibit bacterial and fungal growth.

The investment will help Akorn Technology ramp up manufacturing and support customer trials with more crops.

“By partnering with UM6P Ventures, we are able to bring this innovative technology platform to the regions that could most benefit from our food coating solutions. By leveraging its state-of-the-art UM6P nanotechnology lab, Acorn Technologies hopes to reduce time-to-market in regions disproportionately suffering from food shortages globally.

Beyond fundraising

Apart from capital, both Climate Crop and Akorn Technology will receive scientific support through access to UM6P University’s research and development facilities.

This allows Climate Crop to extend its technology maturity from the lab to large-scale prototypes.

Additionally, the startup will have access to the African agtech and foodtech ecosystem, as well as local and international ecosystem partners of VC firms.

The partnership also looks to help the startup expand in the US, starting with a subsidiary in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Akorn Technology also uses UM6P’s lab and coating expertise to conduct solution testing. Morocco’s ecosystem will continue to stand to benefit. The startup plans to run solution tests on conventional crops to see if climate change will impact coating solutions.

The startup will also partner with UM6P Ventures’ agro-bioscience industry partners to expand its manufacturing capacity.