The global population is over 7.6 billion as of 2018 and will probably reach 9.8 billion by 2050. Apart from rapid population growth, there is also a trend towards urbanization and changing diets. As a result, the global demand for food, especially oils, grains, and vegetables, is likely to increase by as much as 70%. This means more seeds and better seed varieties would be needed.
The seed market, currently valued at $59.71 billion, is likely to grow to $90.37 billion by 2024. Despite this exponential growth, there exists an immense potential to augment seed operations for improved efficiency and productivity. Cropin is partnering with some of the world’s largest seed companies to offer its AI & satellite-based digital farming platform for the seed value chain — R&D, Production Operations, Supply Chain Processing & Packaging, and Sales & Marketing functions.
The Test of Quality
Cropin’s first major intervention in seed production is during the R&D stage where on-farm trials for new seed varieties are conducted across multiple plots, each with a different seed variety. These trials happen across diverse regions with variable field and environmental conditions, to identify the optimum crop genetics that results in the most favorable crop performance.
Each variety trial is defined by a specific objective, such as enhanced yield or climate resilience. The trials help to capture important traits at different stages of the crop cycle, such as length of productivity, the intensity of pest infection, flavor, yield, and seedling/plant vigor, which helps to evaluate if the variety would address market demands.
Numerous parameters are carefully monitored to arrive at crucial decisions regarding the seed varieties that will make the cut, and the collection and storage of thorough, reliable data become vital.
Cropin’s SmartFarm is the perfect crop management software for seed companies to monitor these parameters in real time and measure them against their R&D trial goals. The solution provides seed companies with actionable data insights on seed varieties that accomplish the performance benchmark standards in any given geography. Additionally, Cropin's platform enables multi-generation pre-commercial traceability to the parent seed.
Sowing The Perfect Seeds
Successful R&D trials are followed by a massive seed multiplication process. The flourishing seed varieties that emerged after the R&D trials have to be multiplied into millions of seed packets that can be sold in the market. Seed multiplication is quite a complex task because unless the seed planning, monitoring, and nurturing are done right, quality seeds will be difficult to produce.
In this phase, Cropin uses a combination of SmartFarm and SmartRisk to ensure that the crop multiplication is a success.
SmartFarm is a farm management software that helps seed producers to monitor the entire seed multiplication process, from planning to production. The platform provides field teams with the right package of practices for the seed variety being produced, in addition to climate-smart advisory based on weather forecasts, satellite-based real-time monitoring, and early warning alerts for crop diseases and pest infestations. These capabilities of SmartFarm help farmers consistently produce superior quality seeds. They have also enabled seed businesses to improve their operational efficiency by 35%–40%.
SmartRisk’s deep-learning-based predictive intelligence platform enables production managers to gather key insights on important aspects like crop detection, crop size, and crop health. This real-time intelligence on the platform enables rigorous monitoring of the crop multiplication process across multiple locations and allows users to take corrective measures proactively.
Additionally, using AcreSquare — a platform that facilitates two-way communication between the seed company and the farmers — managers can share activity plans, advisories, videos, news, and notifications from the company. The farmers can also reach out to the customer care center of the organization with a single touch of a button.
We asked one of our client partners about their experience using Cropin's solutions for seed production. In the words of Mr Gurvinder Singh, Production Lead at Savannah Seeds Pvt Ltd:
Cropin’s digital platform has covered most of Savannah’s processes, including the implementation of seed production protocols and recording field activities. The application is quite user-friendly and helps our field staff to schedule their visits in a more efficient manner. They have been able to raise real-time alerts from our farms, which have reduced the delay in taking corrective actions and subsequently reduced crop losses too.
Now that we have a complete and reliable historical record of data in the form of customized reports, we are able to analyze it for further process improvements. We use this database for processing payments and also to pay out bonuses and compensation based on the quality and quantity of seed delivered by growers. The training and support provided by Cropin and their constant improvements and updates to the platform are some of the key factors that made the implementation of an Agtech solution highly successful.
Quality Assurance Made Effortless
Cropin's traceability solution RootTrace is designed to prevent food fraud in the form of counterfeiting, tampering, and the like, through QR-code tagging. Capturing farmer- and farm-specific information, along with details of the storage, packaging, and warehousing process of the seeds ensure that farmers know exactly which brand the seed belongs to, and the seed's quality and authenticity. This goes a long way in building brand trust and credibility among farmers.
The Punjab Agri Export Corporation (PAGREXCO) partnered with Cropin to establish a first-of-its-kind ‘Seed Potato Traceability’ along the entire value chain. As a result, buyers could scan a unique QR code on the label to trace the origin of the seed potatoes. They could determine exactly where the seeds come from and whether they are PAGREXCO-certified or not. Read more here.
Seed Sales & Marketing
For A Better Tomorrow
There are two major challenges that seed companies face in sales and marketing. The first is to develop a focussed sales strategy by identifying the right regions best suited for their seeds and the right time at which retailers must stock their seeds. The second challenge is to assure the farmers of the seed quality.
To tackle the first challenge, seed companies and seed distributors can leverage SmartRisk to detect the crops growing in a region. They can then ensure the availability of seeds of the same crop or crop variety in the stores in the region. Retailers and distributors can also use this information to determine the potential demand and stock up accordingly.
To demonstrate seed quality or its unique properties, demo farms are critical. It presents a live demonstration of the seed's performance in the region and is one of the best methods to convince buyers and improve customer relations with them. SmartFarm's farm management solution helps brands actively monitor the entire crop cycle, from sowing to harvest. On the one hand, the seed company can keep track of the performance of the crop variety for R&D, if required. The company can make data-driven decisions about future sales cycles by eliminating poor-quality seeds and focusing on high-performing ones. On the other hand, the information captured in the software can showcase important metrics like seed quality, germination time, and adaptability to weather. These demonstrations also foster direct engagement with farmers, which encourages them to trust the seed company to a greater extent.