A successful farm is largely dependent on a farmer’s capacity to make the proper decision on the proper time. More than another enterprise, farming is highly depending on the timing of each manner, be it sowing, planting, harvesting or weeding. Even the slightest put off can bog down farm output and result in losses. Irrespective of the form of manufacturing, farmers were relying on their revel in and studying from older farmers of their location to make decisions on whilst to start each process, which isn't always constantly correct and might lead to vast loss or zero profit or damage to supply.
The wishes of farmers fluctuate from produce to supply. Specifically to shrimp farming, a farmer desires to worry about most advantageous water first-class, water control and effective sickness management. Fear of disease outbreak in shrimp has been pronounced as one of the top motives for a 10%-15% drop in manufacturing in India, this year. From 2006-08, Indian shrimp farmers were predicted to have undergone a production lack of INR 1K Cr because of ailment outbreak in shrimp farms.
Shrimps, also usually referred to as prawns, contribute around 70% of the whole seafood export from India, that is well worth about INR 45K Cr. The International Market Analysis Research and Consulting (IMARC) Group has expected that the Indian shrimp farming marketplace could attain a quantity of 1.13 Mn tonnes with the aid of 2024, undergoing a CAGR of around nine% among 2019-2024.
Even although it's far a thousand million dollar industry, shrimp farming nevertheless lacks the technology adoption and performance it's far anticipated to have with its implementation, stated Rajamanohar Somasundaram, founder of Chennai-based Aquaconnect. “It is difficult for aqua farmers to reveal all parameters and make farming choices as they absolutely depend upon farm technicians in daily lifestyle operations,” Rajamanohar instructed CFT
This gap in shrimp farming analytics and the consequent loss is precisely what aquafarming startup Aquaconnect seeks to address. Aquaconnect’s mobile utility, FarmMOJO uses massive facts and artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend farmers on their pond operations primarily based on regular tracking of water first-rate, feed intake, sickness outbreak indicators, and biomass conversion, which indicates the efficiency of farm’s feeding strategy. In addition to the inputs, the software also takes into consideration the facts captured by using IoT or clever farm management systems.
FarmMOJO also facilitates shrimp farmers within the day by day management of their subculture increase, which determines the excellent of the very last product. This consists of optimisation of feeding, disorder prediction and control, and water management. For instance, it's far critical to make sure powerful feed usage and biomass communique in shrimp farming. So, at any point, if FarmMOJO observes poor Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR), it recommends actions and applicable merchandise the farmer can use to normalise the pond environment.
The organization claims that this AI-based totally method has helped shrimp farmers enhance sickness prediction rates and accuracy, improve production efficiency, produce higher-quality shrimps, growth income, and decrease dependency on outside sources for daily culture operations.
Besides India, Aquaconnect is likewise focused on the opposite massive shrimp production markets which includes Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. Globally, the aquaculture market became worth $169 Bn in 2015 and is expected to develop at 5.3% CAGR to the touch $242 Bn by means of 2022.
“Our strategy is to offer whole AI assistance to farmers in the course of the way of life and growth farmer’s sales 5% in every pond,”Rajamanohar advised CFT.
In 2018, India’s Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA), had also launched a shrimp farmers targeted cellular software, Vanami Shrimpapp. The app allows farmers to get admission to first-rate pond management practices, perform input and sampling calculations, predict ailment outbreak, on-farm hazard evaluation together with having access to authorities tips and guidelines.
Globally, the agency competes with the likes of San Francisco-based AI enterprise Aquabyte, Australian gadget getting to know platform sense-t, Indonesian AI and IoT enabled enterprise efishery, and Norwegian Seafood Innovation Cluster’s AquaCloud.
According to Rajamanohar, what differentiates Aquaconnect from its competitors is the customisation element in its platform. “Global business enterprise’s product packages won't be customised for the Indian shrimp species. Also, the pricing of their answers is manner out of the affordability variety for the Indian market.”
Journey From Copassengers To Cofounders
Interestingly, Rajamanohar met cofounder Sanjai Kumar, a shrimp farmer, on a teach journey. The duo broke ice discussing the challenges inside the shrimp farming industry, which blanketed excessive production fees and sickness outbreaks. Rajamanohar followed up this verbal exchange with secondary studies and realised the massive ability for making use of statistics analytics in shrimp farming.
Along with Shanmugha Sundara Raj, the duo based Aquaconnect in 2017. The employer had raised pre-seed funding from HATCH accelerator in 2018. According to Rajamanohar, Aquaconnect is currently in the method of elevating some other $2 Mn to fuel its growth into the Southeast Asian marketplace.
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In the 2 years considering that inception, Aquaconnect claims to have delivered 3K farmers on board and has generated a revenue of INR 2.Four Cr in FY18. Aquaconnect typically relies upon on a subscription version for monetisation, where farmers pay to apply its app each month. Farmers can subscribe to a simple plan in FarmMOJO on the INR 500 in keeping with pond they manipulate. The subscription plan lets in farmers to file facts, access FarmMOJO’s net module and connect with the market.
The employer has also labored out more than one secondary sales sources consisting of supplying information intelligence services to different stakeholders along with hatcheries, meals processors, feed companies, and healthcare merchandise producers. Further, the corporation also plans to provide credit and coverage merchandise for the ones running in the aquaculture industry inside the future.
Battling Tech And Language Barriers
For any agritech startup, the most mission is overcoming the technological divide among the urban and rural India. Even though the access of Reliance Jio has led to decrease facts prices and has elevated telephone adoption in India, net use-cases are but to move beyond WhatsApp and Facebook in rural regions.
Reiterating this venture of tech literacy, Rajamanohar said, “Promoting technology cognizance among farmers, accomplishing out to farmers and offering a new era solution become a project for us. Often it took us about three to 4 months to persuade farmer corporations to agree on using our pilot initiatives.”
Further, the enterprise additionally needed to warfare cultural and language boundaries with a view to examine extraordinary shrimp farming practices throughout India’s substantial farming community starting from Tamil Nadu to West Bengal on the east coast, to Kerala and Gujarat on the west coast.
To facilitate the simpler transition, Aquaconnect deploys area assistants or runners much like Swiggy shipping partners, to help farmers in sample series. The corporation additionally conducts education and workshop periods at common intervals to teach the new technology of farmers who should useful resource the generation adoption system for farmers. Rajamanohar introduced farmers have stepped forward farm production via up to five% due the app’s recommendation.
Talking about other demanding situations, Rajamanohar lamented the dearth of aid from India’s Union Ministry of Agriculture, According to him, getting the ministry to cope with aquaculture’s particular needs changed into difficult and time-consuming technique.
Venturing Beyond Indian Shores
Over the subsequent three hundred and sixty five days, Aquaconnect is hoping to target growth to a few Indian states together with Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat. Further, it pursuits to installation FarmMOJO in 8K ponds and growth the company’s operational sales via 400%.
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Through FarmMOJO app, the employer has also opened up a credit score channel for farmers to get admission to formal financial institutions and get economic assistance which includes crop insurance. It additionally plans to create economic and coverage merchandise for the aquaculture enterprise based on records accrued through the app. Also, Acquconnect envisions the ability for processors and certifying bodies to use FarmMOJO’s records for sustainable procurement and certification.
Currently focussed at the aquaculture area, Aquaconnect also objectives to diversify FarmMOJO’s scope for different fish and marine species in India and overseas. In addition to this, the organization’s strategic partnership with different entities including IDH- Farmers In Transition (FIT), Solidaridad is predicted to help amplify its operations. Further, the business enterprise is targeting a presence in the Indonesian market through 2020.
Partnering with stakeholders consisting of feed corporation technicians and food processors has helped Aquaconnect reach farmers quicker and leverage their existing courting in India. It’s the equal strategy the corporation has used in overseas markets. “We started out receiving the wonderful feedback from our community farmers because the 2018 winter culture [season] as our prediction accuracy has improved over the duration of the beyond three hundred and sixty five days.”