Money grows in the Orchards
Vienna isn’t known for spacious orchards. Now, however, the new Obstraupe “made in Vienna” makes harvesting child’s play. It can gather almost anything from orchards: from walnuts to apples – even melons are no match for it. The young enterprise that developed the tool is currently going through the roof.
Orchards are usually located on uneven ground and have non-uniform tree populations. They are also an endangered cultural asset. In the past, orchards “funded the farmhouse”. Today, 1 kilogram of fruit yields a profit of just 15 cents. Those faced with managing more and more land with increasingly fewer workers can no longer afford to gather the fruit by hand. Around two thirds of the fruit is left unused because the painstaking harvest cannot be covered by market prices. In the DACH region around 300 million Euro of usable fruit is left behind in orchards every year. As a result, in the past 60 years alone, the stock of orchards in Austria has declined by almost 85% – and with it, the bird and insect populations that urgently require these biotopes to survive. Orchards are home to the greatest variety of species among agricultural crops in Europe and are also the most at risk (Red List 2).
Start-up with a penchant for fresh fruit
Organic Tools GmbH is responding to this problem. They facilitate access to the “wasted money” while promoting the stability of the ecosystem. The founders of the start-up, David Brunnmayr, Lukas Griesbacher and Franz Praher, did not have to wait long for success and support. They convinced the expert jury in the Wirtschaftagentur’s call Social Entrepreneurship and were awarded 140.000 Euro to further develop their prototype to series production.
The Obstraupe is precisely adapted to the needs of smaller and medium-sized companies, whose collaboration helped in its creation. At a price of 1400 Euro, the Obstraupe is the first truly cost-effective device to facilitate an efficient and comfortable harvest without fruit damage. In one hour, it gathers 500kg of fruit – more than five times faster than by hand. It pays for itself after one to two years operating in orchards of 30 to 50 fruit trees. Thanks to the Obstraupe, small companies are now able to withstand the growing price pressure despite their lack of workers.
The rapid sales following its market launch demonstrate the enormous demand for a simple and economic solution in this field. After its first trade fair visit (AB HOF trade fair 2018), almost one-quarter of the devices from the first limited series had already been sold. Within just five months, the Obstraupe was completely sold out – 80% of the devices were sold to consumers in Austria, while 20% went to Germany.
Demand for Obstraupe
For 2019, production is planned to increase ive-fold. At least 500 devices are expected to be delivered in the coming year. 90 of these have already been pre-ordered. The market for it exists. In the DACH region alone, there are more than 600,000 farms or private operations where the agile device could be used. Juice and cider for everyone!
Facts and figures
- 300 million Euro of usable fruit remains ungathered every year
- Stocks of orchards in Austria have declined by 85% in nearly 60 years
- Fruit price: approx. 0.15-0,30 Euro/kg
- 1400 Euro per device (plus shipping costs), pays for itself after one to two years of use
- 117 machines sold in just 4 months (March to June 2018) following market launch
- 500 units planned for 2019 - now already at 60 pre-orders
- 500kg harvesting capacity/h
Grants provided by the Vienna Business Agency
- Funded through the program Social Entrepreneurship
Organic Tools GmbH