Saturday, June 19, 2021

Startups chip in to support agriculture

Hyderabad: A clutch of startups are working to empower the farmers through use of technology. The effort is to make them get just prices for their produce. These companies are offering their technology platform free to farmers and end-users. However, they are looking to forge partnerships with farmer producer organisations, farm input providers, logistic services providers and a host of others in the farm supply chain.

For instance, Pals Global Solutions, a Hyderabad-based startup developed a mobile solution called `Khethinext’ to advise farmers on farming practices, give leads to farm input companies and also help the farmers get a better price through online sales. Through the mobile, the farmers are connected to input agencies, buyers, experts, policy makers and administrators.

“We are currently empowering about 30,000 farmers belonging to eight farmer producer organisations in three States,” said Phanidhar Palakoti, founder chief executive officer, Pals Global.

Kalgudi, which is also part of I-Hub at Icrisat, offers a business interaction solution that combines information, business networking opportunities, financial accounts and social models into a mobile platform. “Based on the user activity, Kalgudi’s content engine keeps delivering specific, targeted and context sensitive information,” said Sreekanth Voleti, head products, Kalgudi. Currently, it has more than 5,000 active users a day. “The technology platform is provided free. But we get a revenue share for the leads we provide to traders or logistics partners,” said Voleti said adding that Kalgudi basically acts as a product and service discovery platform.

One more company, Progressive Environmental and Agricultural Technologies (PEAT), a German based startup that started working in Hyderabad for a few months now after setting up office at I-Hub, has developed Plantix to help the farmers in pest management. Plantix is a multi-lingual plant disease and pest diagnostic app.

How it works? A photo of the infested crop is taken with a smartphone and uploaded to the server. It compares the photo with the company’s database. It analyes the patterns and returns the results in a few seconds. Critical information on symptoms, triggers, chemicals as well as biological treatments are provided to the individual users.

All pictures sent by this app are geo-tagged for real time monitoring of pest and diseases.

Currently, Plantix has seen over 1,00, 000 downloads and has a database of over five lakh pictures covering 3- crops worldwide and offers prescription for over 120 crop disease. It is also available in Telugu, said Srikanth R, scientist, Digital Agriculture at Icrisat and country manager for PEAT.

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