While sustainability and economic viability have become the focus area for farmers, entrepreneurs are using advanced technologies and analytics to help farmers make informed decisions about their crops, timely usage of inputs and predictions of any disease. Siddharth Dialani, Founder and CEO, BharatAgri shares his views about how his agri-tech startup helps farmers increase their income through smart-farming solutions.

Edited excerpts:

Q

How does your app help in efficient decision making to save resources and costs for farmers?

Farmers get personalised crop calendars and advice on the exact amount of fertilisers and pesticides required along with their spray date. This enables them to save on the costs associated with these crop inputs. Through the satellite monitoring feature, we are able to gauge the farm performance and advise farmers before any probable pest attacks or nutritional deficiencies in certain areas. Hence, the farm’s production is maximised resulting in more income for farmers. 

Q

How does the personalised consulting service work for farmers?

We generate a personalised crop calendar for the farmer taking more than 30 parameters into account from their soil and water testing report, satellite imaging of the farm, weather, and other crop parameters. The farmers then refer to that calendar to decide upon the crop activity. Additionally, we offer free unlimited WhatsApp chat support, phone calls and video calls to the farmers for helping them with advice on any problems faced.

Q

How does it help conserve energy, soil and water besides other key resources?

Our intervention guides farmers to use only the required amount of fertilisers and pesticides on their crops to minimise leaching and washing out. This allows farmers to experience better soil longevity due to less amount of chemicals in the soil. In terms of the current environmental impact, BharatAgri has helped the farmers reduce their carbon footprint by 30 thousand tonnes of CO2 in the past year and has saved 4.8 thousand tonnes of chemical fertilisers and 175 thousand liters of pesticides from going into the soil and then leaching into the groundwater.

Q

Why does a farmer need to change his or her farming techniques?

Often, a farmer uses old traditional techniques for farming and ends up producing less by using an improper amount of fertilizers and pesticides on their crop. This in turn increases their costs and has a long-lasting bad impact on soil and groundwater. On average, BharatAgri helps farmers increase their income by 30 per cent. 

Q

How many farmers have begun using the BharatAgri app and what is the target for the year 2023?

Our app on the Google play store has been downloaded by more than 3.2 million users. We have impacted the lives of over 15 lakh farmers so far. Currently, we have over 1.2 lakh active-paid farmers associated with us through our subscription service. Our target for 2023 is to impact more than 30 lakh farmers through our services. We are present across India, with a farmer base in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Q

How do you assess the financials of the crops? 

We have built a prediction engine based on the mandi price data of the last 15 years. Google for Startups Accelerator programme has helped us in building it. The platform helps us predict the prices of the crops even before they are sown. This way it enables us to know the financials of growing certain crops in certain regions. 

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