This Bengaluru-based agri-tech company is aiming to revolutionise farming

This Bengaluru-based agri-tech company is aiming to revolutionise farming Representational Image

One of the largest online food and grocery store in India wanted to monitor its farms and ensure that the crops are grown organically. The company was struggling with a lower output yield and were looking for a farm management solution for ensuring traceability and strengthening its sustainability. Bengaluru-based agri-tech company, CropIn, was successful in the digitisation of the online food and grocery company, and enabled data-driven decision making by bringing in complete traceability of its organic produce. The solution provided by this agri-tech company was able to analyse and predict harvest estimation, and was successful in the daily monitoring of harvest and provide better visibility of its supply chain data to ensure consistent supply of goods. The company was successful in taking informed decision and have better crop productivity.

CropIn broadly uses technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence and remote sensing to enable its customers to analyse and interpret data to derive real time actionable insights on standing crop. “We have till date, through our platform, digitised over 3.1 million acres of farmland and improved the lives of nearly 2.1 million farmers while managing 265 crops and 3,500 crop varieties across the globe. Our footprint today spans across 29 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and in select European markets and our (software as a service) solutions are crop and location agnostic,” Krishna Kumar the founder and CEO of CropIn told THE WEEK.

As per a 2017 climate study report, for every 1°C rise in the temperature, crop yield decreases by 3 per cent to 5 per cent. The report has stated that the mean temperature in India is bound to increase by 0.4°‒2.0°C (32.7-35.6°F) in Kharif (monsoon) season and 1.1°‒ 4.5°C (34-40.1° F) in Rabi (winter) season by 2070. With 55 per cent of India’s population depending on agriculture for a living, and nearly 70 per cent living in rural areas that constitute larger agro-economic systems, climate change raises concerns about food produce, food security and the livelihoods of the poorer and marginalised communities in developing countries.

Kumar informs that as an initiative towards building climate resilience in India, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), supported by the World Bank, has launched the Sustainable Livelihoods and Adaptation to Climate Change (SLACC) Project. The pilot programme is currently being implemented in 200 villages spread across four districts of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, in partnership with National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) and supported by the State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLM).

Through their advisory module, the agri-tech company CropIn has digitised over 90,000 farm plots and has helped farmers build sustainability and boost productivity over the last 18 months. The company's climate smart advisory module has provided season-wise crop configurations for all the major crops as well as weather-based advisory to SLACC farmers in their local dialect.

“The most critical objective of the programme is to give farmers climate-smart advisory in order to help them achieve optimal harvests in the face of weather extremities. Our platform provides end-to-end advisory on farming, from choosing the right crop for planting to identifying the right time for harvest. Broadly, the advisory is about the usage of climate-resilient seeds, sustainable agronomic practices, right utilisation of water, pest and disease prevention and harvest and post-harvest practices. There is also a weather-based rule engine that sends alerts on weather forecasts that helps plan package of practices, soil management etc,” added Kumar.

He further explained that making farmers adapt to technology-based advisory was the biggest challenge faced by SLACC as they were used to traditional farming practices that are no longer effective, owing largely to the unpredictability of weather. “The project empowered over 200 SRLM appointed village resource professionals to educate and empower farmers across the two states. These professionals, who belonged to the local communities, were equipped with mobile apps to enable them to disseminate information among farmers. With an advisory adoption rate of 90 per cent and query/issue resolution rate of over 92 per cent we have equipped 20,000 farmers of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar with climate-smart practices. The farmers were able to boost their productivity by 20 per cent by following the package of practices recommended by our advisory,” explained Kumar.

In a recent move, this agri-tech startup has also enabled the BSFI sector to accelerate the agriculture credit lending process with SmartRisk an AI and ML powered technology platform. This solution highlights the associated risks and opportunities for agri-stakeholders by analysing data points such as local weather, water stress, field data and satellite imagery. “High frequency satellite imagery is fast emerging as an important source of data information that is scalable across agri-processes and geographies. Lending institutions can use the platform for farm and region level crop detection, crop growth stage, crop health monitoring and yield prediction. Based on the requirement, institutions can assess the historical productivity performance of every pixel at farm, postcode, state or country level. The predictive and prescriptive analytics solution leverages agri-alternate data for effective credit risk assessment and loan recovery assistance,” said Kumar.