Smart Yields Earns USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program Designation; Partners with North Shore EVP to Advance Food Safety for Hawaii Farmers
Honolulu, Hawaii, August 17, 2018 – Honolulu agriculture technology company Smart Yields has been awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) designation. With SBIR funding, Smart Yields will develop an innovative food safety data management system to assist Hawaii’s small farmers.
The system will support the nonprofit North Shore Economic Vitality Partnership’s GroupGAP designation, the first of its kind in Hawaii and the 15th to be approved by the USDA nationwide. GroupGAP is a USDA farm food safety program that certifies crops as being produced using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Smart Yields will provide technology allowing farmers to seamlessly document food safety data, such as hand-washing, using their mobile devices in a multi-lingual app-based platform. The USDA SBIR award is nearly $100,000, which provides funds for both Smart Yields and North Shore EVP to complete the first six-month research and development phase in a three-phase program.
“The Smart Yields system will replace paper logs and binders currently used by many small and specialty farmers, allowing for an easier review and certification process by the USDA,” said Vincent Kimura, CEO of Smart Yields. “Participation in GroupGAP allows the USDA to review all of the group’s farm logs in one place, rather than visiting individual farms to conduct time-intensive audits. We hope to expand this technology and improve the vital food-safety certification process for farmers throughout the U.S.”
GroupGAP will allow North Shore EVP to advance its goal of establishing a food hub to market and distribute crops grown by dozens of small and specialty farmers on Oahu. A food hub will allow farmers to sell their product to a centralized aggregation and distribution center to supply large-volume clients including Hawaii restaurants, schools, and hotels. This will help them increase sales and focus resources on growing crops.
“The USDA SBIR designation is a major step toward assisting Hawaii farmers in producing enough food to help achieve larger, long-term state goals of food production and resiliency,” said Kevin Kelly, president of North Shore EVP. “Smart Yields technology will allow dozens of farmers to streamline their data management, reduce cost, and more easily achieve federal food safety compliance.”