Improving agricultural produce and fair trade practices for farmers in India
Farmers in Punjab contribute 60% of food grains to India’s agricultural pool, but their plight is distressing. For example, Punjab produces and supplies 60-70% of seed potatoes to domestic markets in India. However, farmers do not get fair remuneration for their produce. Additional research by Nasscom indicates that post-harvest inefficiencies in India lead to a staggering loss of $13 billion per annum.
The biggest culprits–
- An outdated, intuition-based quality assessment system for farmers’ produce
- Slow processing time and inaccurate quality testing
These created a ripple effect across the supply chain leading to - product recalls, unsafe food consumption, and unfair farmer wages. Declining consumer trust emerged as the glaring impact.
Punjab Agri Export Corporation (PAGREXCO), a premier organization of the Government of Punjab, entered the scene to implement traceability and transparency of Punjab's organic produce, which took a back seat. PAGREXCO aimed to improve the livelihood of the farmers of Punjab by boosting domestic produce and global export. It partnered with Cropin in 2019 and initiated a project in Punjab to deploy end-to-end traceability at its farms.
These farms produce a wide variety of crops–from potato seeds and know to basmati and other organic crops. The ongoing project is one of the largest state-level initiatives in India, and Cropin has been leading the entire digital initiative from start to finish. It has impacted over 37,000 farmers by digitizing over 50,000 acres and helping find end customers.
The root of the challenges in Punjab's agricultural ecosystem
On the field, numerous challenges awaited farmers and farming tech companies. The main concern was the lack of traceability into crop value chains, prohibiting sales of products and lowering consumer trust across seed and organic sectors, including exports. A glaring absence of dependable crop forecasts, emerging into supply chain inefficiency was another hurdle. Manual errors and reconciliation issues resulting from the lack of proper tracking and recording of information affected the system. Lack of trust in the global market due to challenges in adhering to international standards and certification needed to be resolved. In addition, rampant counterfeiting in the domestic market worsened the scenario for all the stakeholders involved.
AgTech for holistic solution bringing accountability and transparency across the supply chain
PAGREXCO, in partnership with Cropin, launched a project in Punjab to protect farmers from financial losses by using smart technology to transform conventional agriculture practices and boost domestic and global export. Given the steady decline in export numbers, streamlining the process of seed certification was a priority to bring total visibility and transparency for PAGREXCO.
Training on-field extension teams for ground implementation and sharing digital advisories to farmers have enabled them to adhere to robust and profitable agricultural practices, leading to improved quality and quantity of organic crops. Farmer engagement was achieved through two-way communication using a mobile app.
Digitalizing the farming process with data-first technology
Cropin’s solution provided a multi-tier approach to reduce the adverse impacts of a traditional and outdated farming process in Punjab. The project offered distinct technologies to enable complete farmer and farm digitization. This started with geo-tagging plots for traceability, driving nutrient management, providing alerts, and conducting activity schedules according to standard guidelines. Farmers reaped benefits from tech-first platforms that empowered digitization and monitored the Package of Practice (PoP) of organic farming. QR-code-based tags were employed to ensure end-to-end traceability at the packaging and warehousing stages. All these efforts culminated in transparency ensured adherence to International standards and helped with appropriate export certifications.
Driving round-the-clock advisory and consulting
Cropin has enabled numerous advisory initiatives to be set up to empower farmers during the organic farming process. Under this initiative, In addition to sharing PoPs with farmers, the field team trained farmers on best crop practices. Cropin also gave weather-based advisory and promoted climate-smart agriculture. In addition, farmers also enjoyed the advantage of timely and dependable pest and disease alerts. The platform's easy adaptability and seamless integration to the local context made the transition smooth.
Knowledge management bridged with on-field extension teams
The initiative provided training to field officers to update their activities on the app. Under the program, product feature update alerts and product user manuals were shared with field officers to guide them in the organic farming of crops. The data collection by field officers was monitored to check activation. Data organization and management on the platform enabled easy access and helped field officers share product feature update alerts regularly.
Reaping benefits of Smart Farming
The project has impacted the lives of 37,000 farmers through end-to-end digitization of operations. The tamper-proof seed-to-shelf traceability solution helps prevent counterfeiting of seeds and offers the assurance of the quality implemented. Traceability drives improved global trade.
The success metrics of Cropin’s digital intervention to date-
- Farmers registered - nearly 37,500
- Farms digitized - over 50,000+ acres
- Supported harvest to find end-customers - 35 lakh metric tonnes
Founded in 2010, Cropin is a global Agtech pioneer who has built the world's first purpose-built industry cloud for Agriculture - Cropin Cloud, an Intelligent Agriculture Cloud.
Cropin Cloud enables various stakeholders in the agri-ecosystem to leverage digitization and predictive intelligence to make effective decisions that increase farming efficiency, scale productivity, manage risk and environmental changes and enhance sustainability. Cropin has been instrumental in creating the global Agtech category and bringing advanced technologies together to transform farmers' lives worldwide through partnerships with agri-businesses, governments, and development agencies across 56 countries. They helped the ecosystem to eliminate the uncertainties associated with farming and made it predictable, traceable, and sustainable.
Cropin Cloud combines cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, satellite imagery, and remote sensing. It helps derive real-time actionable insights to build a connected and sustainable agri-ecosystem that can benefit farmers, farming companies, agri-input providers, food processing companies, retailers, financial service providers, governments, and development agencies.