Why Citrofrut Joined Forces with SeeTree to Combat One of The Citrus Industry’s most Catastrophic Diseases

Dor Pundak
May 13, 2022

About Citrofrut: bringing Mexican produce to the world

Citrofrut is a Mexico-based agro-industrial company. It delivers fresh and processed fruit products to customers in 40 countries across five continents. With five processing facilities and over 7,000 hectares of production area, Citrofrut produces fruit for food, beverages, flavoring, and fragrances. 

With tech rapidly penetrating the farming industry, it’s difficult for many growers to keep up with the latest farming methods. Citrofrut has embraced a variety of modern farming methods, but it needed some help to make the most of smart sampling.

The Challenge: sampling trees to prevent HLB infection

HLB (Huanglongbing) is a highly destructive disease crippling the citrus industry in Mexico and throughout the world. HLB, also known as greening disease or citrus greening, damages tree health and fruit development as well as fruit and juice quality. To detect HLB in its early stages, scouts test trees daily. Consistent sampling is necessary so growers can take action to control and eradicate the disease.  

The scouting process is cumbersome. It involves filling in a  paper form, marking the tree by hanging colored ribbons on its branches, and copying the information to an excel sheet. 

After completing the first scouting mission, a supervisor returns to the infected tree to confirm its eradication and give it “clearance.” If there’s any doubt about the tree's status, growers send the tree samples to a lab.  

The HLB scouting process isn’t a one-time procedure. Scouts must complete this process for millions of trees.

The Solution: SeeTree digitizes HLB monitoring 

SeeTree saw Citrofrut's HLB scouting challenges and jumped in to create a more effective, reliable, and efficient process. Using SeeTree’s mobile scouting app, Citrofrut could digitize and improve the HLB scouting process by:

  • Recording all data on the app and uploading it automatically to a central database 
  • Mapping out the groves on the app
  • Marking infected trees and hotspots, enabling supervisors and eradication teams to identify infected trees with speed and precision and see which way the psylla was spreading
  • Integrating the scouting information with additional SeeTree-gathered information 

The app displays all the data on its BI dashboard so farmers can view scouting information in real-time, compare past and present data, and understand the distribution of cases by factors such as variety, rootstock, soil type, and planting year.  

Through close collaboration, SeeTree project managers and Citrofrut farmers could address the company’s most burning issues to find solutions together. 

"SeeTree opened the door to smart agriculture for us to digitize our operation, and make better decisions based on quality and accurate information." Said Francisco Fernando Villanueva Romero, Citrofrut's Technical Coordinator.

The Impact on Citrofrut HLB Scouting Missions:

  • Improved field operations 
  • Reduced the data loss throughout the entire scouting process
  • Better data management 
  • More useful insights from combining and analyzing data on the BI dashboard 
  • Enhanced HLB scouting methods that the farmers can use as a blueprint for future scouting and farm operations 

Each of these outcomes is important on its own, but when they are used together they're a recipe for increased efficiency and higher profits. Dor Pundak, the PM responsible for SeeTree's relationship with Citrofrut, summed up the project:

Dor Pundak
“Through close collaboration with Citrofrut team members, we were able to solve the company’s most burning issues. Thanks to advanced tech tools, here at SeeTree we’re confident in our ability to overcome specific challenges like this one while improving farm operations overall."

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