Start-up pilots drone based health audit of mosambi trees in Nalgonda

K V Kurmanath | Updated on: May 17, 2022
A Samhita Crop Care Clinics executive capturing an image of leaves on a mosambi tree to assess the health of the tree

A Samhita Crop Care Clinics executive capturing an image of leaves on a mosambi tree to assess the health of the tree

Samhita Crop Care Clinics gives tree by tree prescription based on audit

Agritech start-up Samhita Crop Care Clinics has piloted a drone-based health audit for every tree in mosambi (sweet lime) plantation in Nalgonda district.

“In our pilot, we have seen that only 40 per cent of the trees in a plantation are healthy. The rest are at various stages of sickness, which require special treatment,” said Shyam Gunnamreddy, Chief Executive Officer of Samhita Crop Care Clinics.

Health categorisation

After taking a digital map of the plantation using a drone, Samhita executives go to each and every tree and give it a digital identity. The trees are segregated into three categories — very sick trees that are about to die; healthy trees, but with reduced ability to produce fruit and trees that face general problems.

“The good thing about citrus is, about 200 problems are well documented. Of them, we prioritised 50 that matter most,” he pointed out.

After segregating the trees according to their health, the digital solution developed by the start-up offers tailor-made prescriptions, saving the farmers time and effort to revive sick trees and rejuvenate others that require a dose of nutrients or pesticides.

According to Samhita, each tree should be given nutrients according to its needs and all should not be given the same dose. Due to generic application of fertilisers and pesticides, the life of a mosambi plantation has fallen to 12 years from about 24 years, it claims.

“Mosambi is a long gestation crop. Farmers record breakeven after seven years. And, by the time they begin to see profits, production is plummeting by the year 12, causing heavy losses,” he said.

Expanding service base

After covering an area of 2,500 acres of mosambi, the start-up is now planning to expand its customised crop care services to Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and other States where citrus family of fruits are grown.

The firm has raised $1.5 million in seed round and bootstrapped another $2 million so far, in setting up the network and technology backbone. “We are in talks to raise $6 million this year to fund our expansion plans,” he said.

The start-up charges 10 per cent of the total value of harvest as its fee. “Besides offering them tailor-made services, we also help them in finding the right market. We establish linkages with wholesale markets and urban retail stores to help them discover higher prices,” said Gunnamreddy.

Published on May 17, 2022
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