According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), up to 40% of global crop production is lost to pests each year. Plant diseases cost the global economy over USD 220 billion, and invasive insects at least USD 70 billion annually. Hence, crop protection products or agrochemicals are vital to pest control, weeds, fungi control, and diseases that damage or destroy crops and curb agricultural production.
Some factors resulting in increased occurrences of pests and diseases are:
- Increased risk with climate change
- Altered migratory patterns and geographical distribution of pests
- Lengthened duration of infestation and disease stages
- Efficacy of crop protection products impaired by unpredictable weather events
- Increased spread of pests, weeds, and diseases with increase in global travel and trade
The crop protection industry has constantly been innovating to meet the challenges and providing targeted solutions that farmers need to protect their crops. However, it has been facing industry-specific hurdles, including regulations, concerns about environmental pollution, lack of traceability, etc.
Overcoming challenges in the path to growth for the crop protection industry
In an internal survey conducted by Cropin, 43% percent of crop protection companies surveyed revealed that supply chain management is the biggest challenge they face today, followed by accurate demand forecasting (41%).
Some of the solutions offered by an integrated cloud platform are discussed below.
1. Efficient agri-input supply chain management
Crop protection companies have traditionally followed an ‘inside-out’ operating model for their supply chains – increasing operational efficiency and competing by reducing cost. However, the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of building sustainable, resilient, collaborative Agri-input supply chain management system.
With the digitization of the entire business value chain via platforms like Cropin Cloud, the reactive approach that manages pests post-infestation has the potential to become proactive by predicting occurrences of pests and diseases, forecasting demand, and efficiently managing supply.
2. Accurate crop protection demand sensing
The industry is also under tremendous pressure to ensure accurate crop protection demand sensing. With sales fluctuating wildly from one year to the next in the cyclical industry, short-term demand forecasting is relatively easy, but predicting longer-term trends, which is crucial for the industry, is much more difficult. The time has come for crop protection companies to reimagine their strategies and lay a digital foundation to drive resilience, improve agility, and drive business growth.
For instance, digital tools like Cropin Apps can help crop protection companies with accurate crop protection demand sensing by using its contextual deep-learning models. Cropin provides data-driven intelligence and delivers additional business insights for bespoke needs using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models. Currently, 60% of the entire crop protection business value chain is digitized, and 93% of the business chain is expected to be digitized by 2024.
3. Reduction of silos
According to the internal Cropin study, the top three challenges for crop protection companies in adopting digital technologies are business silos (41%), shortage of digital talent (38%), and lack of workflow customization (35%).
With multiple departments of a company adopting various point solutions for digitization, there arises business silos. This results in lack of coordination and inadequate collaboration between departments, which impacts progress and prevents the industry from reaching its full potential. This can be addressed by deploying an integrated cloud platform like Cropin Cloud that allows for data democratization. It gives access to data to employees of multiple departments across the company, thereby optimizing the cost of digital transformation across the organization.
Crop protection companies are also struggling to attract digital talent. This can be eased by optimizing talent with the use of clean, conceptualized data provided by Cropin Cloud, which also allows for workflow customization of various operations.
4. Better evaluation of crop protection products
The availability of effective and safe pesticides is critical for a sustained increase in agricultural productivity. Cropin Cloud's 22 contextual deep-learning and AI models allow a reliable analysis of pests and diseases with data from field-tested models deployed globally for yield maximization. Based on the world's most extensive crop knowledge graph, the models are fine-tuned for specific crop varieties, locations, and conditions, and allow for precise evaluation of the efficiency of crop protection products.
5. Comprehensive data management
Comprehensive data inputs are critical for risk mitigation and efficient collaboration between agri-businesses and crop protection companies. Predictive data around market risk, crop health, weather fluctuations affecting crop quality, etc. are among the valuable discussion points in this context.
Cropin Apps can help organize and manage data on a comprehensive platform with easy access and visibility. It also allows companies to track and benchmark dealer performance and analyze payment history and credit limits. It further helps agri-businesses identify high- and low-density sales points and manage dealers and distributors effortlessly.
6. Accurate market intelligence
Accurate market intelligence can help a company devise effective sales and marketing strategies to achieve business targets, meet market demands, and significantly reduce the time to market for products. It can also help meet government standards and regulations.
Cropin solutions provide crop protection companies with real-time, plot-level insights into acreage, Agri-input resource usage, farmer engagement, adherence to package of practices, and field officer productivity. Ground-level intelligence on the specific crops cultivated in a given region, the agrochemicals required based on the agro-climatic zone and the crops, crop sowing dates to ensure product availability, etc., can empower enterprises.
Companies can keep a close watch on soil and crop health and accurately forecast demand based on the different stages of the crop cycle. Cropin Apps also strengthen the pre- and post-distribution processes in the supply chain and provide end-to-end visibility and traceability in agriculture.
The unique Cropin advantage
The ability to detect crop diseases early and control them with minimal environmental damage is critical to agriculture. Cropin uses weather forecasts and historical crop diseases data to predict the probability of a disease with its Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) model and alerts farmers. It also enables farmer engagement and helps train them on precision farming techniques. This intelligence is of immense value to crop protection companies in managing the demand-supply equation.
Digitization to enable collaboration and mitigate risk for crop protection companies
Crop protection companies can transform inter-departmental coordination and collaboration with other Agri-industry players, farmers, and field officers by deploying agriculture cloud platform Cropin to realize the full potential of a connected future. Cropin Cloud platform uses AI/ML to derive data-driven intelligence to mitigate risk. It accurately predicts demand for crop protection companies through crop protection demand sensing models. Using this intelligence, the industry can reduce time to market and distribute. Thus, by deploying Cropin Cloud, crop protection companies can compete more effectively in the digital-first global market and emerge successful.