There are numerous factors that determine a crop’s harvest, and the application of agrochemicals is undoubtedly one of the most decisive ones. At an era when the world was faced by issues surrounding food insecurity, predominantly in the developing nations, high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of crops and agrochemicals including pesticides and fertilisers were introduced during the Green Revolution to protect crops from pests and diseases, and to enhance agricultural productivity. Until then, years of continuous agricultural activity combined with poor farming practices had led to the gradual degeneration of soil quality. The introduction of fertilizers improved the quality of land by providing much needed nutrients including nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, and chemical pesticides were being used to control pests and reduce crop losses. These agrochemicals together with package of practices significantly boosted crop yields.
There was no turning back after that. The agrochemical industry has been forever in the lead, encouraging extensive research and development of fertilisers to manufacture products that aid crop production in the most effective and sustainable ways possible. Advancements in crop science and technology enabled agronomists and scientists to develop potent chemicals that boosted crop cultivation for a growing population, and also ensured that farms need only the least amount of these nutrient supplements and growth fertilisers to significantly impact agricultural output.
While the agrochemical industry is set on its path to make agriculture highly efficient, productive and sustainable, there are quite a few barriers in the supply chain that challenge these manufacturers, with respect to pre- and post-distribution processes. These barriers are today being overcome with the adoption of a wide array of precision tools that make innovative use of technologies such as satellite monitoring, artificial intelligence, IoT, and big data analytics.
CropIn, an agri-tech pioneer and a provider of innovative solutions for the global agriculture sector, has designed a unique suite of SaaS solutions that have been transforming agribusinesses over the past few years. CropIn’s application of advanced technologies facilitate agri-input manufactures to penetrate deep into their markets with dynamic go-to-market strategies based on accurate market intelligence. CropIn’s future-proof platform breaks down agri ground-truth and other key sources of real-time big data including satellite-imagery and weather forecasts into layers of vital data points to deliver scientific and actionable insights that can be leveraged by agrochemical businesses to arrive at data-driven business decisions.
CropIn product suite strengthens the pre- and post-distribution processes in the agrochemical supply chain in the following ways.
One of the biggest challenges that agribusinesses face today with respect to distribution of agrochemical products is the lack of accurate data insights that help them identify the most favourable regions for a focused sales strategy. What makes this an even bigger challenge is that farmlands in developing markets remain fragmented, and reaching out to smallholder farmers is not an easy task. The absence of ground-level intelligence, such as the crops being cultivated in a given region, the kind of agrochemical required for the region based on the agro-climatic zone, and the sowing dates for the crops to ensure the availability of products at the right time, renders it difficult for the management team to design a business plan that outlines a definite target group, an effective marketing plan, and a fitting sales strategy to achieve business targets.
CropIn’s SmartRisk™ is an AI/ML powered platform that was built to provide agribusinesses with a competitive advantage by enabling a thorough analysis and mitigation of potential risks. The SmartRisk™ platform examines the various agro-climatic zones using weather forecasts and provides insights at a regional/postcode level on the regions where agrochemicals sales are likely to increase. SmartRisk™ allows users to detect crops, establish regional-level historical data insights on crops produced in the region, analyse the health of the crop currently under cultivation and forecast its yield, helping key stakeholders to hedge risks and strategise sales planning.
Demo farms have been extensively used by agrochemical companies as an effective extension education tool to demonstrate agricultural techniques, to test new methods in parallel with existing traditional ones, and to gather data on crop protection, crop growth and crop nutrition. Agribusinesses also leverage them to connect with their target groups, who are, more often than not, smallholder farmers—to encourage a faster adoption of ground-breaking innovations. However, poor visibility of these plots across different regions has proved to be an immense challenge for businesses to effectively monitor their performance in real time.
One of CropIn’s client partners Myanma Awba have recognised SmartFarm as one of the most efficient software solutions to manage demo farms remotely and establish a mutually beneficial relationship with their target farmers. SmartFarm’s mobile application allowed field extension teams to register the various demo plots and capture various farm activities as and when they take place. The R&D team can also utilise this data to monitor the effectiveness of the agrochemical outside lab conditions.
Awba also uses SmartFarm to register the details of all the farmers who attend demonstrations, which helps the company engage with them in an efficient way and create an opportunity to convert recently added farmers into buyers through constant engagement. Awba further strengthened its rapport with the farmers by sharing best farm practices to improve farmer productivity along with farm insights with respect to the usage of their products, such as decrease in pest infestation, improvement in crop health and quality, and boost in crop yield. Awba also periodically markets customised, product-related information to create a mindspace for their brand.
Furthermore, CropIn enabled Awba to identify high- and low-density sales points and manage its dealers/distributors using SmartSales application, CropIn’s input management solution to forecast and improve sales. The application facilitates hassle-free organisation and management of data on a secure cloud platform for easy access and visibility. SmartSales’ interactive dashboard enables the management team to utilise this data to track payment history and credit limit of every dealer and benchmark their performance based on their sales on a season-to-season basis.
In the words of Adrian Soe Myint, former Chief Digital Officer at Myanmar Awba Group,
Since we started working with CropIn Technology, our management efficiency has improved significantly. In certain locations, we saw major improvement in engagement between our field staff, sales channels and farmers. This has resulted in more sales lead for Awba.