Chennai-based agtech startup Svastha Ecoharvest has joined hands with farmers to produce rice that meets European standards. 

The company has roped in 10,000 farmers, primarily in Tamil Nadu, to improve the quality of rice and in return, improve the growers income. 

“Our farmers produce rice following the European rice standard, especially maintaining pesticide limits by not exceeding the maximum residue levels (MRLs). To comply with the standards, Svastha has implemented a specific information technology tool optimising chemical usage at the village level, “ said  V Balamuthukumar, Project Coordinator of Svastha Ecoharvest.

Using data science

With chemical residue and climate compliant products emerging as the key features of the export market, the Chennai-based firm is innovating its products using data science, he said. 

“We are driven by digitisation, the future of consumption, sustainable living, and the pursuit of longer lifespans. Our primary objective is to provide clean and wholesome food while simultaneously increasing farm income,” the project coordinator of the company said.

In order to ensure transparency of its products, the company has come up with quick response (QR) codes which provide the complete history of the product from farm-to-fork. The company produces test result for every packet it dispatches.

One of the features of Svastha Ecoharvest is that it offers speciality rice varieties such as Ponni rice, Sona Masoori rice, Matta or Red rice, Idly rice, and traditional or indigenous ones such as Karuppu Kavuni, Poongar and Mappilai samba.

In addition, the company works closely with urad (black matpe) growers, while offering white and parboiled rice varieties.

AI-powered crop monitoring

Svastha has a team of professional agricultural graduates who educate farmers on safe, appropriate and judicious use of chemicals. This ensures that the products comply with the maximum residue limits (MRL) permitted. 

Stating that the idea of deep purpose and deep learning is the ultimate process to transform quality control in agriculture today, Balamuthukumar said his company is continuously developing an artificial intelligence-powered crop monitoring solution to comply with the MRL of various agricultural products. 

Svastha Ecoharvest’s research team works with a significant number of farmers continuously. After every season, it ensures the farmers’ produce are procured at a premium and traded in domestic and export markets.

In particular, the research team labels and logs data of specific pest incidents such as rice blast. It is now working on reducing the use of chemicals in crops without compromising the yield, he said.