Enhance farm monitoring for export certification, transparency and accountability
AVT McCormick Ingredients Private Limited (AMIPL) is a joint venture between McCormick & Company Inc., USA and the A.V. Thomas (AVT) Group that was incorporated in 1993. AMIPL manufactures/processes spices at its facility located near Cochin (Kerala, India) with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes per annum. The company predominantly supplies red pepper, turmeric, ginger and black pepper to customers primarily located in the USA and Europe.
AVT Group has business interests in agricultural commodities, tea, solvent extraction, leather, rubber, vanilla, cardamom, and other spices. The organisation’s business goals are supported by the four pillars of integrity, sustainability, health and safety, and quality & food safety.
McCormick, on the other hand, is a US-based company that manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments, and other flavoring products for the food industry, including retail outlets, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses. The company supplies its products to more than 140 countries and territories.
AVT McCormick engages in contract farming in various districts in the Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. With its operations distributed across a total of nine districts, the organisation faced difficulty in the operational management of the various farms as there was no centralised system in place that provided effective data monitoring and management. Additionally, the field staff’s collection and reporting of on-field data was carried out using basic tools such as pen and paper and spreadsheets, which led to data inconsistencies quite often.
Poor direct engagement with farmers
Difficulty in monitoring the amount of agrochemicals by farmers
Inadequate visibility and accountability of field team activities
Lack of a system to track if farmers are using any pesticide other than those recommended by the organisation (non recommended chemical or NRC)
Inability to keep track of lab results for quality control and export certification purposes
AVT McCormick partnered with CropIn in 2017 to institute a sound system to monitor on-field activities and keep a keen eye on the use of agri-inputs by farmers. Evidently, digitisation of farm operations was considered the first step towards addressing their core challenges in farm management.
SmartFarm, CropIn’s end-to-end farm management solution, was implemented to monitor the various farm activities leading up to harvest. The field team created complete digital records of the farm and the farmer along with details regarding the crop in cultivation. The data collected from the farm is then saved in CropIn’s secure cloud platform, which can then be accessed by the key members of the company anytime, anywhere.
SmartFarm also delivers accurate real-time insights in the form of customisable reports based on the ground-truth data, to empower the organisation with data-driven farming and farm management by tracking, managing and monitoring every step of the process to increase productivity, traceability and output predictability.
For the upcoming season, CropIn will also implement Rootrace to help the organisation achieve exactly what the name suggests — trace the origin of the produce to its exact location, along with the farmer’s image, company profile and customer care information, sowing and harvest dates, agrochemicals used during its cultivation, images taken the various stages of growth, alerts raised if any, and lab reports to determine the crop’s quality.
Managing operations in 9 districts across 3 Indian states
CropIn’s successful implementation of its digital technologies enabled the organisation to remotely monitor and manage chilli crops across the 9 districts in India — Jayashankar Bhupalpally and Khammam in Telangana, East Godavari, Krishna, Warangal and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh, and Raichur, Bagalkot, and Bellary in Karnataka. The digitisation of farming data also increased visibility of farming activities for better operational efficiency.
The field staff leveraged SmartFarm’s mobile application to monitor if farmers are adhering to the package of practices recommended by the organisation. This ensures that the farmers are using the most appropriate and sage agrochemicals and are following the right practices for a quality harvest. The field staff also use the application to record images and raise alerts when there is an incidence of pest infestation or crop disease. Agronomists then suggest the best remedial actions, which facilitates the farmers to take corrective actions with minimum crop loss.
Further, eleven unique types of pre-configured reports were generated as and when required to provide a comprehensive picture of the agri-input application, the list of farmers who were identified to have used NRCs, the complete profile of a zone, a comparison of the planned and actual numbers with respect to number of farmers, area under cultivation, and expected harvest, etc. This business intelligence empowered the management plan their operations efficiently.
Previously, the samples that were sent for lab testing contained a mix of samples from different farmers. Now, by geo-tagging the exact farm to the farmer and by tagging it with a unique QR code, the organisation will be able to get samples from each of the farmers tested separately for quality check. Upon receiving the lab reports, the organisation can reject a farmer’s produce if it fails to meet the requirements as specified by the organisation. This lab report can further come in handy during export certification processes, to guarantee the safety and hygiene of the produce.
The QR code for the product serves two other purposes too. It helps in the management of inventory in a more efficient way
End consumers can also scan the product’s QR code to take a quick glance at the journey of the final product from sowing to harvest.
The QR code in the Rootrace system al- for end consumer, and QR code for inventory management
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