Over the past few decades, agriculture technology in its various forms has enabled agribusiness to scale up their farm, resource, and economic productivity. The successful application of innovative solutions to address complex challenges in the agri supply chain has also encouraged government entities, charitable trusts and CSR arms of private organisations to partner with technology providers to create a positive impact in the socio-economic development of a community or the country as a whole.
One such remarkable partnership that recently hit the headlines is CropIn’s engagement with Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (CInI), a philanthropic organisation established by Tata Trusts, to impact 40,000 tribal households in the Indian state of Jharkhand. This collaboration is part of the initiative’s ‘Mission 2020: Lakhpati Kisan – Smart Villages’ program, which aims to bring over 1 lakh households out of poverty by improving their livelihoods and overall quality of life.
This is what Tata Trusts aims to achieve as one of India’s largest organisations that impacts millions of households in the country. Their Lakhpati Kisan program focuses on only one of their several areas of work, and is an endeavour to uplift the lives of Central India’s tribal households through their Central India Initiative. Launched in April 2015 by CInI, this program aims to bring about 101,000 households irreversibly out of poverty with increased quality of life and life choices and to develop 17 blocks as regional drivers for growth across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Odisha.
Many households that are a part of this program depend on agriculture as the primary source of income. Each of the 101,000 households is expected to earn INR 120,000 per annum or more, compared with the baseline average yearly earnings of INR 40,000. The program today benefits over 70,000 households by driving a positive change through institutional structures.
However, the program was facing significant challenges with respect to improving agricultural outcomes for the tribal households in the targeted regions. Earlier, there was no practical solution to create reliable profiles for farmers, their produce, and their current income, which made it difficult to establish a baseline for interventions. To add to this, they were not equipped with best practices to boost agricultural produce. There also existed practical issues around tracking agri-inputs, monitoring field teams, and getting timely and actionable alerts.
The collaboration with CropIn now enables CInI to leverage SmartFarm to intervene at every stage of the crop lifecycle and improve the livelihoods of over 4,300 farmers across Godabanda and Dhalbhumgarh regions in Jharkhand. In the first year of engagement with CInI, the mobile application helped CInI digitise 3,400+ plots and build accurate farmer and farm profiles through proper channelisation and digitisation of data. The field staff leverage CropIn’s digital farming solution to monitor vegetables including capsicum, green peas, watermelon, bottle gourd, cauliflower, chilli, cabbage, brinjal, bitter gourd and tomatoes. SmartFarm then actively engages farmers by sending them advisories about the best practices, such as the appropriate usage of chemical inputs, to help them optimise their produce. The application also helps monitor the field staff who engage with the farmer on a day-to-day basis, and collect critical farm data using SmartFarm’s easy-to-use modules. This data is stored in CropIn’s centralised cloud platform and is readily available to key stakeholders actively involved in the project for effective and timely decision-making. Lastly, SmartFarm helps analyse productivity and estimate yield, thereby allowing CInI to measure the impact of the interventions and improve outcomes going forward.
Given the fantastic outcomes that have been observed after the first year of partnership, CInI has scaled up this partnership to impact 40,000+ households across Jharkhand in the next few years. Going forward, CInI will also be leveraging SmartFarm for enhanced livestock development, by implementing better animal husbandry practices and tracking livestock through farmer surveys. With the right farm data management solution in place, CInI is now making headway in its goal of lifting 101,000 households out of poverty.