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Walmart pilots AI-assisted fruit sourcing

Walmart partners with Agritask
Walmart is partnering with Agritask to predict fruit yields.

Walmart is partnering with a crop supply intelligence company to test the effectiveness of artificial intelligence in aiding fruit sourcing.

The discount giant is deploying remote sensing and data analytics tools from Israeli tech firm Agritask to enable sourcing managers to make more well-informed decisions on seasonal fruit crop yields such as cherries and blackberries. 

According to Walmart, this first-of-its-kind 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 at scale for a second fruit crop season.

The pilot is deploying Agritask technology 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. 

Walmart says it selected these specific crops due to their high sensitivity to temperature fluctuations and moisture levels, which can significantly affect their growth, quality, transport and shelf life. 

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"Dealing with challenges in purchasing and planning accuracy in agriculture due to data discrepancies and environmental uncertainties can be tough," said Kyle Carlyle, VP of sourcing innovation and surety of supply at Walmart. "Agritask’s technology has the potential to fill vital information gaps that sourcing managers often face when predicting yield." 

"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."

Walmart has been formally pursuing a larger goal of becoming a “regenerative” company — helping to renew people and the planet through its business. First announced in September 2020, other recent examples of the strategy include using 3D weaving technology from unspun to eliminate waste and emissions in its apparel supply chain. 

Walmart’s regenerative goals include reaching zero emissions in global operations and committing to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030. 

Through innovations in energy and transportation, Walmart seeks to power 100% of its global operations with renewable sources of energy by 2035 and achieve its overall goal of zero emissions across global operations by 2040.

Based in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 19 countries.

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