July 2019— Startups and Enterprises are disrupting the agricultural landscape with new business models and solutions. These businesses are tapping into the banks, insurers, government agencies, farmer co-operatives and corporate social responsibility programs to create a suitable business model to help farmers.
Farmers are distressed due to various reasons. Most of the farmers in India have smallholdings and some take lands for rent to farm. The farmer’s distress has many dimensions. Farming makes the highest contribution to India’s economic growth accounting to nearly 15% of GDP composition. There are very few large farms that can afford for technology solutions.
CropIn Technologies was started in 2010 to provide its Agtech innovations directly to farmers with a motive to help them increase agriculture produce and gain profitable income. After the initial stage of investment, it could make only a profit of Rs. 6000. Thereafter, CropIn moved to B2B business model and now its tailoring solutions to specific needs of agribusinesses and other allied services.
“Each customer segment that we deal with, we have a different value proposition for them,” said Jyoti Vaddi, head of business development at CropIn Technologies.
Large Agro-companies that depend on agriculture produce need information on sowing, pre-harvest stage to harvest, and post-harvest activities. Development agencies are very keen to develop sustainable solutions to farmer livelihoods, says Jyoti Vaddi. CropIn is currently working with World Bank on a climate resilience project to build the adaptative capacity of rural livelihoods towards climate changes in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh through a climate-smart advisory model. This model helps farmers to gain sustainable benefits such as receiving weather alerts on phone, smart farming practices, and advisories on the occurrence of pest infestations and diseases.
CropIn has set its eyes on finding the market in banks, non-banking institutions, financial companies that provide agricultural loans and insurances. The loan lenders, banks, and insurance providers are utilizing CropIn’s AI expertise to manage risks associated with loan lending.
“CropIn’s solutions give a comprehensive view of how the farm is performing and how the crop is doing. In some cases, the farmer takes the loan for one crop and ends up sowing other crops. There could be a credible reason, which is not transparent and it could probably be something a banker wants to know.”
CropIn is working in collaboration with public and private sector banks, NBFCs and insurers to provide a platform that gives insights on historical performance data of crops at a district-level. This data is utilized to predict the yields using machine learning algorithms combined with remote sensing and satellite monitoring capabilities to determine which type of crops are grown in different regions. Based on the crop signatures, CropIn’s platform has collected nearly 5 years of historic data. Large companies like IBM and Microsoft are also involved in Agritech.
The government is showing a keen interest in implementing next-gen technologies like Artificial Intelligence, IoT sensors, blockchain and other advanced technologies in agriculture. The ministry of agriculture has tied-up with many startups to conduct pilot studies on use of AI, ML and IoT in agriculture.
To know more about the fresh innovations that are happening in the Agtech industry, please read here