March 2019 —The Central government has partnered with CropIn along with nine other research institutions and private agencies, to make the Crop Cutting Experiments (CCE) more accurate, swift and scalable. The CCE optimization initiative using cutting edge technologies was carried out by the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Centre’s flagship crop insurance programme, and monitored by Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC). The objectives of these pilot studies were two-fold: (1) Optimisation of number of crop cutting experiments to bring it to more manageable levels, (2) A robust and self-managed claim dispute resolution mechanism which enables swift resolution of claim disputes. The pilot studies, were initiated in September 2018, and concluded with the CCE of Rabi crops in Feb 2019.
The PMFBY requires the states to carry out minimum of four crop-wise CCE in every gram panchayat for the submission of the yield data to insurance companies within 30 days of harvest. The government has traditionally been using a random survey method to estimate the crop yields of a given location. However, considering that there are 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in India, it is challenging to conduct reliable and accurate CCE in the country at scale within a short harvesting window. Applying technology to the otherwise rudimentary and time-consuming process of CCE will expedite risk assessment when processing insurance claims and loan applications made by farmers under the PMFBY.
CropIn is currently conducting CCE through its scalable yield mapping technology through remote sensing in the Koppal and Bellary districts of Karnataka. CropIn’s SmartFarm and SmartRisk collectively enables accurate and efficient execution of CCE, resulting in timely clearance of claims. Given that India is a country of small-hold/marginal farmers, CropIn’s technology can also be used to evaluate varied/smaller unit areas, thereby rationalizing the entire process of CCE.
For conducting CCE experiments that are a lot more scientific and less arbitrary, SmartRisk™, an award-winning AI- and ML- powered digital platform by CropIn, makes use of ground-level data and satellite imagery to identify the plots that are apt for these experiments. Millions of data points are analyzed and run through proprietary AI & ML models to zero in on farm plots that will represent the most accurate sample for the region. With the help of this data, government officials can easily identify the right plots that should be included in the study, removing all ambiguity from the process of selection. The benefits of technologically-aided CCE are not just limited to choosing the right sample for study. Apart from offering a more optimized method of plot selection, this platform also helps in providing the government and insurance companies with scientific, scalable, and accurate reports for processing of insurance claims and crop yield assessments.
SmartFarm—CropIn’s digital farm management solution—captures the precise location and size of the farm and the details of the farmer at the time of conducting the CCE. This ensures the field data is accurate, enabling complete visibility and transparency in the CCE process.
CropIn improves the operational efficiency of CCE at scale by providing centralized access to regional/unit area data points to government and insurance companies. The company applies complex algorithms for the smart-sampling of crops. CropIn’s Smartfarm gives complete control of the process to all stakeholders. Right from identifying the crop being grown in a unit area, harvest readiness of the crops to determining the optimal crop yield points, stakeholders can leverage the data points to carry out CCE effectively. The CCE process is executed by field agents and the data is updated to SmartFarm for the perusal of government. Based on the crop insurance guidelines defined by PMFBY, a crop yield threshold is adhered to for claim clearance.
Even though Indian farmers have access to subsidized insurance policies, claiming coverage or availing credit is not without challenges. CCE needs the intervention of technology to make the process, objective, accurate and fair. Government and private agtech companies are teaming up to solve these challenges jointly.