Tevel technologies are developing what they call “the best fruit pickers in the world.”
The purpose is to keep family farms in the family, to reduce labour costs, ensure reliability of labour, and replace young people, who are fleeing the country for high paying urban jobs. Their words. Well, look at their parameters for a family farm:
So, that’s just under 250 acres. That’s a large industrial enterprise. Not quite the warmth of a family farming their landAs for labour, well, just look at their cost estimates, and you will see how this works:
Got that? Converted to Canadian Dollars, that’s about $150 a ton for harvest. I tell you, in 35 days, one human fruit picker could pick 58 tons, and if they were getting paid even half of that $150, they’d be very highly-paid, indeed. One other worker could sort those apples. If this is a family farm, surely there would be 2 workers? Seemingly, this tech is about something other than just saving labour costs. What it appears to be doing is transferring the costs from the farm community to highly-paid work developing the technology in an urban setting. It urbanizes the work. As for quality, well…
… the drones drop the apples on this cart. They then roll into place. Each drone is kinda slow, so it takes a few. Remember, this is your “family farm.”
Actually, it’s a packing house. You’ll need tough-skinned apples for that.
In sum, no farm labour, no community labour, no community packing labour, just money poured into an urban economy which, then, will buy these expensive apples. This is not what we need to strengthen our communities. Of course, if the goal is not to strengthen farm communities but to urbanize and industrialize them, plundering their resilience by integrating human taste, desire and labour into technological products, this is the way. A better question, though, might be to ask what model would support families and farms and human land-based labour in ethical ways that maintained the independence of rural communities?
Stay-tuned for some ideas on that.