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 technology platform for the seed value chain — R&D, Production Operations, Supply Chain Processing & Packaging, and Sales & Market Development.
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 are conducted across diverse regions with variable field and environmental conditions, to identify the optimum crop genetics that results in the most favourable crop performance under the given local environmental conditions. 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, flavour, yield, and seedling/plant vigour, 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 collection and storage of thorough, reliable data become vital. CropIn’s SmartFarm® is the perfect farm management solution 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.
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 three digital solutions — SmartFarm®, SmartRisk® & AcreSquare® — to ensure that the crop multiplication is a success.
SmartFarm® helps companies 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 smart advisory based on the weather forecast, satellite-based real-time monitoring, and alerts for potential pest infestations and crop diseases. These capabilities of SmartFarm® help farmers to prepare in advance for sudden crises in their region and also help them to consistently produce superior quality seeds. They have also enabled seed businesses to improve their operational efficiency by 35%–40%
SmartRisk’s satellite-imaging technology and AI/ML platform enable 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 take corrective measures proactively.
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 centre of the organisation with a single touch of a button.
“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 much efficient manner. They have been able to raise real-time alerts from our farms, which have reduced the delay in taking corrective actions and has subsequently reduced crop losses too. Now that we have a complete and reliable historical record of data in the form of customised reports, we are able to analyse 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-enabled certification and QR-code tagging that is used during the packaging and warehousing process of the seeds ensure that farmers know exactly which brand the seed belongs to, and what is the seed quality and authenticity. This goes a long way to build brand trust and credibility among farmers.
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. CropIn’s SmartSales™ application provides market intelligence in terms of dealer-wise and product-wise performance metrics that enable seed companies to design a focussed and time-sensitive sales strategy. The application also facilitates inventory and sales management along with sales team monitoring for efficient business operations.
The second challenge is to assure the farmers of the seed quality. In order to do this, market development officers usually perform a series of demos to showcase the superior quality of the seeds. SmartFarm® helps these officers monitor the entire life cycle of the crop, which enables them to capture and showcase important metrics like seed quality, germination time, and adaptability to weather. The demonstrations also foster direct engagement with farmers, which encourages them to trust the seed company to a greater extent. The data captured at farms also enables senior managers to make decisions about future sales cycles by eliminating poor-quality seeds and focussing on high-performing ones.
CropIn works with multi-billion-dollar seed companies across the world to build massive efficiencies in the seed value chain. A prominent global seed company is leveraging CropIn’s digital solutions in as many as 16 countries, or in other words, across 90% of their global presence in the seed production segment. This is just the tip of the iceberg. More and more seed companies across the world are now realizing the transformative impact of building technological efficiencies into a long and arduous life cycle.