Erratic rain has jeopardised India’s nearly $370 billion agricultural sector and thousands of jobs. According to The Times Of India, various startups are helping farmers combat the problem. These startups have chosen to shun the stereotype entrepreneurial ventures in e-commerce or software to venture into precision farming (site specific crop management and technology).
Karnataka-based Flybird uses sensors in the soil to detect moisture content and control irrigation. With over 45 installations in villages of Karnataka for crops such as capsicum and a variety of flowers, the setup helps the farmers optimise irrigation. “The method also proves economical for the farmer in the long run, although the cost of one sensor is Rs 6,000, as it is imported. We are working on making indigenous low-cost sensors,” said K S Satish, Co-founder, Flybird Agri Innovations.
NubeSol, which gauges soil quality based on various parameters and gives out fertility maps, also monitors soil moisture through remote sensing. Catering exclusively to sugarcane crops, the sensor sends out warnings when the soil moisture falls below the threshold level. “The sensor covers few acres of land, which can be used by more than one farmer. There are currently over 7,000 farmers from Belagavi and Bagalkot whom we cater to,” said Suraj Dixit, Co-founder, NubeSol.
While two consecutive failed monsoons have propelled the need for better irrigation, labour shortage has necessitated automation of irrigation. “Cash crops stand more to benefit from these innovations,” said Chakravarty A B, Senior Investment Manager, Villigro, an incubator for agro-based startups.
The Chennai-based Sree Sai Aerotech Innovations, run by father and son duo Sai Pattabiram and Venkatesh Sai manufactures drones and drone controllers. They have partnered with a company that has over 4,000 weather stations across the country to detect health of the crop using drones and in-house software for aerial photos.