Bengaluru-based tech start-up Acviss Technologies has started providing digital signatures for pesticides so that consumers don’t end up purchasing fake crop protection chemicals.
A study by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) says that at least 30 per cent of the pesticides sold in India are fake.
A company statement said Acviss focuses on the prevention of counterfeiting. Products in production and sold by a company are kept secure in the supply chain with Acviss software.
“Our digital signatures are incorporated in the packaging so you can track and trace, get real-time updates of fake scans or counterfeit activities and then take legal actions accordingly,” it said.
Crux of the issue
Citing the 2020-21 Annual Report of the Department Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers welfare, the company said that fake pesticides are a problem in agriculture as about 55 per cent of the total workforce in India is engaged in allied sector activities and accounts for 17.8 per cent of the country’s Gross Value Added (GVA) for 2019-20 (at current prices).
The government norms stipulate that delivery firms need to check approved labels on the containers and packets of pesticides, check the batch number, registration number, date of manufacture and expiry on the labels.
“While these are the most important aspects to check, counterfeiters can still easily recreate the product packaging similar and sometimes even better than the genuine product,” Acviss said.
Counterfeits and fake products can lead to fatality in agriculture, particularly since thousands of farmers end up spraying them onto their fields, resulting in contamination of the soil and putting the health of innumerable consumers at risk, the statement said.
Acviss‘ digital signature helps end consumers verify and authenticate their product. “Tech-based solutions against counterfeit are the most sought after and also one of the most reliable methods of authentication,” the company said.
The company provides a user with proactive, real-time data which helps brands take the required legal action to bring down counterfeits.
Acviss Technologies, incorporated in 2016, has managed to protect over 1.25 billion products till now, the statement claimed, adding that 8 lakh farmers have benefitted from its solution. It works closely with various government entities for better policy formation to safeguard products. Currently, it is associated with the Coffee Board and MSTC, an arm of the Ministry of Steel.