Agri Business

How an AI-powered precision farming solution is helping small and marginal farmers in Kotagiri

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on November 02, 2019

Ravichandran, A farmer from Iduhatty village

Aibono helps farmers improve yield by offering solutions built using analytics, IoT and data science

The overcast sky did not deter Lakshmi, a 70 year-old native of Kookulthorai village in Kotagiri from pulling out the weeds and ensuring that the lettuce that she had planted in her half-acre plot received enough inputs.

Stating that she does not depend on farm hands to do the job, Lakshmi admits to toiling hard to get adequate returns to support herself and her ailing son.

Lakshmi and many others in Kookulthurai belt have in recent months taken to cultivation of short duration exotic crops such as lettuce, broccoli, celery, parsley, zucchini and rosemary. Thanks to the intervention by Bengaluru-based start-up Aibono, these small and marginal farmers with holdings not exceeding 2 acres are today looking up to this company for buy-back of the farm produce.

Aibono, according to its founder Vivek Rajkumar, offers AI-powered precision farming solutions to help farmers use analytics, IoT and data science to improve yield.

“Yield and price realisation are the two things that irks farmers most. While we used our tech platform to improve the yield, price realisation seemed a bigger issue and we realised that technology could aid this as well,” said this engineer-turned farmer.

The four-year-young start-up has collected consumption data from the 400 retail outlets to which the supplies are made from the 600 farmers in its network

“Today we are in a position to predict what a retailer in Bengaluru would consume by looking at his weekend and week day consumption pattern. By matching the real-time demand with real-time supply, we have addressed the pricing issue in an impactful manner.”

“In agriculture, we have to plan from seed to consumption and Aibono is India’s first seed-to-plate aggregator platform”, Rajkumar claimed, before explaining the company’s strategy.

How it works

The farmer sources the seedlings in batches from the nursery that Aibono has tied up with in Kookulthurai. The seedlings are generated based on consumption for demand-supply synchronisation. The company’s tech-support team acts as a bridge between the farmer and the cloud-platform.

Agri-graduates and sons of farmers have been engaged on the ground to oversee the crop growth. They in-turn co-ordinate with the tech-support team and advise the farmers accordingly. “It is a shared platform. The tech-platform benefits the farmer, but the consumer pays for it as he is able to get farm-fresh produce.”

On pricing, he said: “we operate at the market price on the retail end, while fixing the contract price of the restaurant industry at the supply end.

If the farmer goes to the mandi, he will be able to off-load only what the trader wants and the settlement is not made immediately. We not only assure buy-back of the produce, but remit the amount into their bank account immediately.”

Aibono, according to its founder has started the process of building traceability on its platform. “Soon the end consumer would be able to see the farm from which the vegetable came – using a QR code.”

The company is now gearing up to scale the platform to accommodate 2,000 retailers and partners by mid 2020

Published on November 02, 2019

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