About 58% of India’s tremendous 1.3 Bn populace depends on agriculture to eke out a livelihood. Yet, the world has been neglected inside the bloodless as far as innovation and era are concerned.
The average income of a farmer in India is expected to be Rs 77,976 according to yr, and as many as 22.50% farmers stay below the authentic poverty line, in line with the Dalwai Committee file. Climate alternate has contributed to the suicides of almost 60,000 Indian farmers over the last 3 a long time.
The Modi authorities has centered to double Indian farmers’ earnings by way of 2022. However, this looks as if a pipe dream in the mean time. In fact, the Economic Survey 2018 predicts that weather change ought to in addition decrease farmers’ income with the aid of up to 25%. The Survey warned approximately the need for “dramatic” development in irrigation, use of new technology, and better focused on of electricity and fertiliser subsidies.
India’s farmers and agricultural area need a saviour. And given agriculture’s dire need for disruption, the saviour may also properly end up a growing brigade of agritech startups, which can be inclined to toil inside the face of hurdles consisting of excessive authorities manage, remote vicinity of agricultural lands, and inadequate market linkages, among others, to enhance the circumstance of Indian agriculture.
One such startup, Agricx, is striving to herald a reliable crop-grading system in India, with the purpose of putting off middlemen inside the supply chain and allowing farmers to earn a truthful price for their produce.
Ritesh Dhoot and Saurabh Kumar, who started Agricx in 2016, realised that the primary motive for unfair pricing of agriculture produce become the fluctuating exceptional and popular of the produce, an acute problem, according to the duo.
“During our research, we realised that the complete transaction process in this segment became based at the ‘notion’ of first-class. It was subjective. We needed objectivity in the crop grading device. This become our Eureka second,” says Rahul.
Agricx has evolved an synthetic intelligence (AI) and system getting to know (ML)-based SaaS technique to simplify the grading machine and cast off variability inside the first-class of produce sourced.
The center concept behind Agricx’s commercial enterprise model is to streamline the procurement method by organising correct and particular grading systems with the help of technology. Currently, Agricx grades handiest potatoes (it has plans to increase to different crops) and caters to procurement chains in cities inclusive of Agra, Gujarat, Mohali, Karnataka, and Delhi, among others.
Agricx: Zeroing In On Potatoes
When requested why they picked potatoes to begin the grading system with, the founders explain that potato is one of the maximum extensively sourced crops by means of massive companies and but it's miles cultivated on small patches. Therefore, the produce this is sourced has a tendency to vary in high-quality and there may be no foolproof manner to decide first-rate. Agricx fills this loophole with its grading device.
“In India, we produce a total of about 44 Mn tonnes of potato and approximately half of it — 23 Mn tonnes — is kept in cold storages and supplied to markets throughout India at some point of the year. Grading a crop this is so widely consumed was a necessity and, thus, Agricx zeroed in on potato because the first crop to begin the grading method,” introduced Ritesh.
According to the founders, there are primary problems confronted in the deliver chain control — one, it's far hard to decide the high-quality of huge volumes of produce via comparing a small sample, and two, the archaic, manual grading technique ends in erroneous effects. The manual grading system doesn’t have any predefined requirements and evaluation is achieved at the point of consumption, leaving farmers susceptible to take delivery of something charge is obtainable with the aid of the customer, commonly middlemen.
Agricx’s SaaS-Based Crop-Grading Solution
Agricx lab seeks to be a bridge between farmers and cold storages on one aspect and procurement experts on the opposite, supporting the latter procure their requirements in an efficient manner with the usage of generation.
For this, the startup has partnered with bloodless storages (who are measured towards stringent parameters) throughout India and listed their licensed potatoes on its platform. Agricx also presents a further offline service wherein their internal group visits bloodless storages to double check and compare the produce. However, this is an on-call for provider and is furnished over and above their technological solutions.
The startup’s middle carrier is absolutely based totally on the SaaS utility it has developed. The application permits cold storages to click on pics of samples and grading is accomplished based on a few pre-determined measures. The data is then saved for future reference. The records includes information consisting of:
Who graded the pattern
The quantity of sample used for evaluation
When and in which the grading changed into accomplished
The certification software program makes use of a complicated proprietary algorithm to as it should be discover grade specs of potatoes from the photos captured.
The application is likewise without difficulty scalable as it may grade excessive volumes and exceptional styles of samples in minimum time, thereby organising a reliable and obvious grading system. A single picture of the produce may be evaluated simply inside 30 seconds.
Agricx’s USP is its deep studying technology. The startup’s convolutional neural networks (CNNs/ConvNets)-based totally algorithm resource in photo processing, type, and segmentation of produce.
For the uninitiated, CNNs are artificial intelligence networks that examine visual imagery. In this example, they assist decide the exceptional of produce through comparing the crop pics.
Agricx: 100 Cold Storage Clients And 2 Mn Kgs Of Potatoes Certified
Agricx is growing at a rapid pace, serving customers inclusive of Mccain India, Mahindra, and over 100 bloodless storages inside the country.
They have already licensed over 2 Mn kgs of potatoes till date and the founders are making plans to make bigger their crop portfolio to chillies, rice, and tomatoes. The startup is likewise growing a modern-day era to assess inner defects and vitamins in agricultural produce. It is also exploring European markets to enlarge its potato grading expertise across the border.
However, agriculture is one of the maximum hard sectors to paintings in, and Agricx has had its percentage of challenges, along with hiring employees. The founders say “some top PR around our funding and ML/AI-based totally positioning made the hiring technique a touch smoother.” They add that being an agri-focussed generation organisation helped Agricx entice skills.
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The startup has raised about INR three.25 Cr till now from the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and Ankur Capital. Most of the funds have gone into developing the era. Both the founders emphasise on the truth that their buyers have a eager interest in agriculture and are able to see and aid their critical business selections.
As of now, Agricx may not have a lot opposition, but there are some other players running within the section, which include Bengaluru-based Intello Labs and Agshift, a US-based food inspection agency, each of which are well rooted in the Indian agritech phase.
It doesn’t appear like it will likely be too lengthy till space receives crowded with more innovative business models, thinking about the impetus the Centre and kingdom governments are giving to this region.
However, the predominant mission for Agricx may not surely be the opposition (as of now, as a minimum) but the capacity to maintain within the fractured agricultural environment in which farmers are still no longer knowledgeable approximately the quality way of farming and buyers or middlemen nevertheless exist as redundant layers inside the system. The industry is big and complex and the challenges are many, but it holds remarkable possibilities for innovation and upgrades of the type Agricx is doing, and it can only get higher from here.