Since the adoption of the Green Revolution — between 1965 and 2015 — India’s meals manufacturing has multiplied three.7 instances, resulting in a forty five% increase in meals manufacturing in keeping with man or woman, making India self-enough with regards to meals and an exporter as well. But one-fifth of India’s farmers’ still stay underneath the poverty line.
The Narendra Modi-led authorities on the Centre has introduced its commitment to doubling farmers’ income by using 2022, an formidable plan that would do with a leg up and more from era.
In remote villages in Gujarat in India, a handful of Farmer Mitras are doing just that. These Farmer Mitras (pals), appointed through agritech startup MyCrop, roam agricultural fields inside the vicinity, collecting records across diverse agricultural parameters. The statistics is then uploaded on an app advanced by way of MyCrop built the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) and gadget getting to know (ML) technologies for predictive evaluation of farming output.
How MyCrop’s Farmer Mitras Are Helping Growers Reap Better Harvests, And Making A Career For ThemselvesA Farmer Mitra showing a MyCrop farm plan to a cultivator in Gujarat
The Farmer Mitras are also tasked with mentoring smallholder cultivators inside the latest farming techniques and technology. The purpose is to help farmers lower farming prices and growth productivity and income, says founder of MyCrop, Deepak Pareek, adding the startup is also helping generate employment for young people in these villages through onboarding them as Farmer Mitras.
Interestingly, MyCrop commenced started out its operations abroad — inside the Southeast Asian island kingdom of Indonesia — before launching in India. It is found in Java and North Sumatra, in which it has appointed 21 Farmer Mitras. Back home in India, there are 14 Farmer Mitras operating in 28 villages in relevant Gujarat.
“The Farmer Mitras accumulate statistics related to land, which include geofencing, along side the demographic profile and beyond crop records of each farmer within the villages in which we’re energetic. Based at the information churned the usage of our AI-powered utility, they publications farmers on what to grow, while to grow, and a way to grow it,” says Pareek.
The initiatives have commenced displaying fruitful consequences, Pareek claims, including the startup has helped farmers boom their productiveness by means of 30%, thereby permitting them to lower their value of manufacturing and growth their incomes.
For instance, agri-creditors can use the platform to evaluate farmers’ performance, their land high-quality, and their farming behaviour to take powerful choices associated with disbursal and comply with-up of agri loans. Meanwhile, agri-enter companies can take powerful market-related choices. Such facts-driven insights can even assist the government formulate better guidelines.
“These (farm) plans help farmers do better than what they were doing the previous day. We’ve been capable of lessen their fee of cultivation and boom their yields, profitability and income,” Pareek says.
Similarly, meals aggregators, agri-import businesses and distributor can use predictive insights on farmers’ productivity manipulate their personal stocks higher. This, in turn, can permit farmers can avail suitable expenses for his or her produce.
“We can even promote the produce earlier than the harvest because we can predict its increase. This complete environment is introduced to the farmers freed from fee,” Pareek said.
My_Crop_DashboardA screenshot of the MyCrop application dashboard
Farmer Mitras: Making A Career Of Data Collection And Mentoring
MyCrop handpicks tech-savvy locals and appoints them as village level entrepreneurs (VLEs) or Farmer Mitras. It trains them and obligations them with amassing facts related to farmlands and crops, that is then uploaded at the AI-powered MyCrop app to draw actionable insights.
“We’ve labored loads in developing a terrific education module that is accepted. We provide a whole profession plan to the Farmer Mitras,” Pareek says.
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The Farmer Mitras are taught to collect essential facts related to the demographic profile of farmers and their land and crops, amongst others, together with images. The facts is then collated with geo-spatial elements (climate, topography, and so forth). The startup additionally draws on statistics from 1/3-birthday party services — for instance, historical financial and land facts.
All of this facts is processed the usage of ML and AI to predict agricultural output. On the idea of those predictive insights, MyCrop attracts up customised give up-to-give up farm plans overlaying the crop lifecycle for farmers. The plans are easy and encompass guidelines on what crop sorts a farmer must plant, the range of days he should spend on one of a kind farming activities (sowing, irrigation, application of crop nutrients, crop protection, harvesting), and different applicable inputs.
The Farmer Mitras visit farms periodically assisting farmers implement their cultivation plans and submit updates at the MyCrop platform via photographs of the modern crop reputation. They additionally educate farmers via video, snap shots, and data on their MyCrop pill about moves to be taken.
According to Pareek, Farmer Mitras employed by means of MyCrop in India are incomes almost $a hundred and fifty USD (round 10,000 INR) every month while following their ardour to serve farmers.
The startup maintains that unless it unearths at least one candidate passionate sufficient to
help farmers in his/her respective villages, who is additionally adept at the usage of cell telephones and drugs, it doesn’t add the village to its portfolio.
MyCrop: Sowing The Seeds Of Growth, From Indonesia To India
Founded by means of Pareek in conjunction with different co-founders — Paresh Shah and Vinesh Patel — MyCrop first launched its pilot in December 2016 in North Sumatra in Indonesia. Now, the startup is offers its solutions via 21 Farmer Mitras throughout 32 villages within the usa.
Inc42 asked why the startup chose to first pilot its solution in Indonesia? Pareek said, “We chose Indonesia as there are much less variables to manage. Rainy season period in Indonesia is commonly lengthy and has a very rich soil (due to volcanic soil), and farmers have more income according to capita than India. Further we had help from agriculture Input companies and some NGOs like GIZ for our endeavors.”
The 3 founders infused about $400K to start the enterprise. The bootstrapped startup was officially released in March 2017 in Indonesia and in August of the same year in Gujarat, geared up to foray into agritech market and alternate the way farmers grow vegetation. In India, MyCrop is situated in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and its Indonesia head workplace is at Medan in North Sumatra.
The startup claims that its solution is being used by approx four,500 Indian and Indonesian farmers, who've been able to growth their income by way of a median of 34%. The startup, which become walking in pilot mode till final yr, began clocking revenues from February 2018. Currently, its month-to-month revenue is round $5.8K (INR four lakh).
“We paintings by launching a small sustainable pilot after which take it to a huge employer that could roll it out to more and more people. We generate sales from commissions charged to stakeholders using the platform,” Pareek stated, adding that MyCrop doesn’t rate some thing from the farmers the usage of its utility.
The platform is presently being used by seven environment stakeholders inclusive of NGOs, agri-enter businesses, and agri-creditors.
Agritech In India: The Market and The Players
Bolstered by way of the government’s dedication to the purpose of doubling the farmers’ profits with the aid of 2022, several agritech startups and atmosphere enablers, consisting of traders, incubators, and accelerators, are coming ahead in India to invest in the quarter.
Inc42 DataLabs report suggests that around $36 Mn become invested in 15 agritech startups in 2017. Further, an IBEF document highlights that the u . S .’s Gross Value Added (GVA) from the world is envisioned to have grown at three% in FY18.
Investors such as Rairah Corporation, Omnivore Partners, Future Venture Capital Company Ltd (FVCCL), IDG Venture, Accel Partners, Aspada Investments, IvyCap Ventures, Unitus Seed Fund, Rabo Equity Advisors, SAIF Partners, Villgro Innovations Foundation, Qualcomm Ventures and IDFC, among others, have taken a keen hobby inside the agritech area.
Similarly, startups are mushrooming inside the space. There’s Intello Labs, which gives an AI-based totally deep-tech answer for crop inspection and agricultural products grading, and Agricx, which has advanced an AI-and machine studying-based SaaS method to simplify the grading machine and cast off variability in the great of produce sourced, among others.
Another agritech startup, Harvesting Inc, is imposing its AI-based agricultural intelligence engine in villages throughout Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab. The engine makes use of remote sensing era to offer facts on farms and farmers to enable agri-lending institutions to perform pre-loan and submit-loan activities greater efficiently.
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In a latest development, Chandigarh-primarily based agritech startup AgNext raised an undisclosed in Series A investment from Omnivore Partners India Fund 2. The startup plans to apply the funding to make bigger its product in information analytics within the agriculture area by combining each hardware and software.
MyCrop, in the meantime, is inside the final tiers of charting out its plans to begin its operations in Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam — other agriculture-focused countries in Asia.
The startup is presently trying to increase Series A investment and plans to close the round via September, as part of its plan to increase its operations to other states of India. “We want strategic investors and want to onboard domain professionals,” Pareek says.
Asked about the challenges faced through MyCrop, Pareek says the largest assignment is hiring the proper candidate to teach right into a Farmer Mitra. “Till the time I don’t get an excellent Farmer Mitra, I’m now not adding every other village only for the sake of adding one,” he adds.
This approach may be a boon for the startup. At the coronary heart of MyCrop’s AI-based farming solution is the bigger venture of enhancing the lot of farmers and of agriculture as an enterprise. And that can only be carried out by stakeholders — whether or not individuals or businesses — who're captivated with ensuring that India’s farmers get their due and might live better lives.