GMABE, distributor of Naio’s weeding robots since 2018 (we talked about it here), quickly opened the way of the Canadian market for Oz. Given a first client won over in New Brunswick, many demos and a substantive work alongside the administrative apparatus to help fund the robots, Benoit St-Laurent, President of GMABE, is convinced of the relevance of mechanical weeding robots on his territory. Account of a meeting on Canadian lands.
GMABE, distributor of innovative agricultural solutions
Founded in 2015 to market the Aqua4D, an innovative and eco-friendly solution for the management of irrigation water and watering, GMABE is attentive to the state-of-the-art agricultural innovation all over the world.
So it was only fitting that GMABE and Naio meet since they have similar clients and that they share the same environmentally-friendly positioning and corporate vision.
Today, a robot “Dino” has already been marketed on the Experimental Agricultural Farm of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Canada, while a robot “Oz” has been marketed to a market-gardener in New Brunswick.
Benoit St-Laurent is now our technical advisor for the Quebec/maritime Quebec and Ontario provinces.
Oz in Canada: the success of the mechanical weeding robot in market gardening
Madeleine, market gardener in New Brunswick, has just acquired her robot Oz. She aims to have it work on 4 ha of asparagus, watermelons and Brussels sprouts.
That is why Mathilde, our formidable instructor, went there to coach Madeleine and her regular seasonal employee for two days. “Handling the robot was very easy and fast because the farm met the specifications right from the start”, rejoiced Mathilde.
« In Canada, small-scale market gardening has fewer resources than in Europe, but the players usually employ foreign workers to overcome the need for manual weeding”.
After half a dozen demonstrations, the robot is a success: the market gardeners see Oz as a solution to reposition their workforce on tasks more profitable and less painful than manual weeding, such as harvesting and selling. Oz hence represents a very interesting medium-term investment for these market gardeners, thanks to its range of tools and its versatility.
A strong potential for development in Canada
The main obstacle to be overcome today is the inclusion of robotics in Canadian funding programs.
“I made an appointment with the Minister of Economy and Innovation, who is none other than our local MP, to tell him that the existing programs for the agricultural workforce do not list agricultural robots as eligible” says Benoit St-Laurent. The President of GMABE thus wishes to work with the administrative apparatus on the updating of selected programs to reveal mechanical weeding robots as solutions for the reduction of greenhouse gases, the organic transition or to help the workforce: “Some clients made requests but all got negative answers… except for one who was granted a financial support up to 70% but on the cost of the tools only. This is not enough and this has to change”.
‘’Overall, the momentum is favorable according to the number of positive comments and the welcome given to the autonomous hoeing work of Oz”, rejoices Benoit St-Laurent.