I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to help advancing Hazera and the industry by developing disruptive technologies that will be used by our breeders."+
Daniel Koster joined the company about three years ago, following an academic career that included a Ph.D. in Biophysics and a post-doctorate in Systems Biology at the Weizmann Institute, which was completed parallel to his immigration from the Netherlands. He encountered Hazera by accident, when he performed before the Dutch community in Israel (playing the clarinet). At the end of the concert, Daniel spoke to a Hazera company worker who suggested that he meet with Zur Granevitze, who at the time was director of the company's Breeding Technologies division. Daniel says that prior to joining Hazera, agriculture had seemed to him to be a rather traditional field, without much technological innovation. The professional interview with Zur and the common language he found with him convinced him that there was significant potential for technology to guide and support breeding. Currently, Daniel leads an innovative research project in the field of phenotyping that is funded by the Israeli Chief Scientist. "Accurate and low-cost phenotyping of all relevant parameters for breeders in the actual growing area (greenhouse, open-field etc.) is not possible currently, and this is a major gap in advancing efficient data-driven breeding and agriculture in general". The project is carried out in collaboration with other companies and leading researchers from the academic world, and involves applied research that utilizes deep learning algorithms (computer vision). That technology is amazing and very powerful: cars can drive themselves, computers can hold conversations with humans without humans discovering that they talk to computers and much more. For us the challenge is to adapt and implement that kind of technology for breeding within Hazera. It is not easy, but we know the benefit for our company could be very significant. Alongside the dynamism and sense of being pioneers in the field of precision agriculture, Daniel also notes he is inspired by the talented members of the team, and connecting fields, as well as belonging to the “mother” company, Limagrain Group, that adds a long-term and global perspective and vision.