Agritech company FarmERP was incepted as a part of Shivrai Technologies over a decade ago, keeping in mind the struggles of farmers and the pressure on them to grow exceeding produce by the day, on limited areas of land. Initially, as the digital divide was apparent in farming, incorporating IT solutions into farming was an exceedingly difficult idea. However, in 2001, the software platform firm got its break, when it developed its first multilingual multimedia content for farmers in India for Government agencies and grower associations. And there was no turning back thereafter. Today, FarmERP is a part of over 12 industry sub verticals including plantations and farms, contract farming, R&D institutions, Government bodies, export and pack house industry, farmer producer companies and various others.
Ltd, an agri-tech startup set up by a former executive at impact investment firm Aavishkaar Venture Management Services Ltd, on Thursday said it has raised $5.5 million (Rs 39.14 crore) from venture capital firm Omnivore. Existing investors Accel and Mayfield India also participated in the funding round, Clover said in a statement. Avinash BR, co-founder at Clover, said the fresh funds will help the company accelerate the growth of its managed farm network, enter new cities, and diversify its business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-business (B2C) offerings. The Bengaluru-based startup had raised funding from Accel and Mayfield India, VCCircle reported last year. Clover, which was launched in December 2017 by Avinash, says it is a greenhouse agri-tech platform.
Bangalore: In 2016, The Times of India reported that 253 farmers from Lalkheda village in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh received an average of Rs 2.83 (4 US cents) each as insurance payouts for the loss of their soybean crop under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (the flagship prime minister's crop-insurance scheme). The insurer blamed the farmers for taking insufficient cover. The story got 29-year-old Prateep Basu, then an engineer with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), thinking. How was it possible, he wondered, that a country which had been using remote-sensing technology for decades could fail to use it for accurate crop forecasting when the lives of so many millions crucially depended on such information? The four of them went on to form SatSure, a data-analytics startup with "a mission to evolve crop insurance products and provide an accurate risk assessment of crop yield by integrating climatic variables with geospatial and economic datasets."
Two out of three Indians count on agriculture as their primary livelihood yet the sector contributes just one-sixth of the country's national income. For long, policy mandarins and economists have bemoaned this skew and the urgent need to boost farm productivity but little has moved the needle in Indian farming in recent decades except in pockets. Like in every other sector, artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, combined with on the ground automated sensing using internet of things devices, is being deployed in agriculture, too. The start-ups are paving the way for tech to to help the Indian farmer to tackle one the biggest challenges before farming: uncertainty. "Uncertainty is the poison in the blood of Indian farming. Farming is difficult and stressful, driving farmers out of farming and sometimes even to suicide. Technology companies in the agri-tech space are helping to make farming into a more stable and desirable industry," says Kahn, a Harvard MBA with over a decade in the Indian agriculture space Today a handful of startups working on AI-backed solutions are paving the way ahead for bringing in the tech to help the Indian farmer to tackle one of the biggest challenges: uncertainty.
Farmers are the backbone of the nation, with over 70 percent of Indian households still dependent on farming. However, over the last few decades, farmers have become the forgotten workers of the nation. But thanks to the startup era, farmers appear to have come to the forefront, in large part, due to agritech companies. Adopting the farming-as-a-service (FaaS) model, numerous agritech startups are now endeavouring to bring forth farming-related advanced technological mechanisms to help farming become a sustainable and profit-yielding enterprise. These agritech startups provide a wide variety of services to farmers – from providing farming equipment at affordable prices, to ensuring crop protection.