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BIS TECHNOVATORS | Agdhi Creates AI Based Tech to Examine Seeds Quality

Agdhi, a Bengaluru based start-up company has recently launched an AI technology to examine the quality of seeds. This technology — along with photometry, radiometry and computer vision — offers efficient methods for seed classification and seed quality analysis. During an interaction with Nitisha from BISinfotech, Nikhil Das, Founder, Agdhi shares the specialities of its products and also emphasized that the government should come out with policies in place that allows farmers to be better aware of technology-centric approaches.

Nikhil Das, Founder, Agdhi

1. Please explain Agdhi as an organisation. Key focus and what states you out when compared to other AI Companies?

Agdhi is on a mission to combine digital technology and human creativity to create sustainable methods in agriculture. Today, India is seeing a huge disruption in agriculture through technology. Agriculture, which is both a major industry and foundation of the economy is looking for innovative approaches in protecting & improving crop yield. With this aim we plan to introduce next generation electronics products optimized for agriculture. We have a team of dynamic engineers, agri expert, bio-technologist bringing in cross domain expertise from agriculture, biotechnology and engineering domains of embedded, Software, AI , ML and mechanical. We have our team working closely with the agricultural industry and farmers, understanding their problems to the core and bringing in solutions to their needs.

2. Please describe your latest project and how it will be helpful for farmers?

We are bringing out three flagship products for the farmers:

SeedVision – Seed is the most critical input in agriculture. Besides the regular cultivation practices, it is the quality of seed that determines the uniformity, vigour, growth, development and finally, the yield of crops. Seed quality refers to its uniformity, physical purity (size, shape, colour etc), genetic purity (true to its type), physiological purity (gemination %, vigour) and the presence of admixtures. It is reported that in hybrid rice for example, 1% reduction in seed purity results in yield loss of 100 Kgs/ha. The traditional methods of testing seed quality generally rely on manual inspection, “grow-out tests (GOT) which is time consuming, labour intensive and involves higher costs. With seedVision we are bringing in AI based seed phenotyping method which is a game changer in the agriculture

Planto – Timely attention and care to crops and unawareness of crop diseases are few of the major reasons why new farmers fail to make their efforts to market. Planto brings you the power to diagnose your plants from your mobile. It provides analysis and suggestions of what you are growing, how’s it growing and what can you do to help. Be a crop doctor yourself by recognizing infected crops and treating for any pests or deficiencies.

Farmers Network India – When it comes to farming, every enthusiast has the question of what, when , where and how. Here comes the one stop solution for all your farming needs. Dive into a network filled with years of experience and knowledge. Farmer Network India empowers the farmers by providing the right data and services at the right time.

3. Agriculture has a huge role in economic growth. What are the current needs of the industry and how solutions can empower this sector?

Agriculture plays a strategic role in economic development and ensuring the food security of the country. With the rapid increase in population in the under-developed and developing countries the production of agricultural products has to be increased largely. Also, the changes of climatic conditions and over usage of pesticides and fertilizers are adversely affecting the agriculture in India.This call for scientific, sustainable and digital development for the agricultural sector ensuring the increase in production and per capita income for the farmers.

4. Challenges and scopes in this sector and the impact of digital transformation? 

Today, leveraging the advancements in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), farms across the world are transforming digitally from mere precision farming to smart and digital farming, mainly smart farming modernizes the agriculture sector through the use of automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics. Unlike precision farming, smart farming involves the conversion of farm data into actionable insights by enabling mass data communication in real-time among various digital technologies. Thus, it paves way for an efficient route for monitoring, tracking, analyzing, and optimizing various agricultural assets and production processes. Digitalization also currently ensures that the agricultural input resources are managed in a highly optimized, personalized, and intelligent manner. With the growing awareness among consumers to know how their food is being produced, the digitalization of farms will enable traceability along the entire agricultural value chain. Ensuring the last mile reach of the technology is most important. Agdhi is working Hand in Hand with farmers to make sure that information and technologies are reaching the farmers.

5. How was the year 2020 in terms of business and what are your plans for this year?

We have started the operation by June 2020. Agdhi is bootstrapped with over 5cr investment now. We are planning to raise 25 to 30Cr the coming financial year. And currently we are having a team of 40 members. This year, we plan to expand to 100 numbers across technology and sales.

6. What are your marketing strategies? Please explain your further plans to improve agriculture sector in India?  

We mainly work with B2B (Seed manufacturing companies) which are based in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala and our team is present in these regions. Presently, we are increasing our presence through these seed companies and plan to expand our presence from South to Middle and Northern India. We are also planning to release our B2C products by the early terms of the new financial year.

7. Apart from Indian market, are you planning to promote your product overseas? Please explain.

We are planning to introduce SeedVision to the global Market by the next financial year. We are already in talks with some of the global leaders in the Seed Industry who can take us to the global market.

8. During Covid-19 there was a huge economical breakdown. How Agdhi has coped up with such situations?  

We would like to this as a new learning curve which has shown us new ways to connect and work. Education sector has revolutionized, digitalisation has accelerated like never before. We take this opportunity to bring in new technologies and digitalised methods to agriculture

 9. Your expectations from the Indian government?

We envision a future where technology has a significant role in providing the average farmer with the best productivity from their limited means. The government should come out with policies in place that allows farmers to be better aware of technology-centric approaches and should enable them to endorse these technologies at viable costs. This can be done as an offshoot of the much-publicized “Digital India” where there was added impetus on the adoption of digital technology. We believe that the government will provide agritech the necessary opportunities & incentives to grow as a robust sector within the Indian economy.

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Nitisha Dubey

I am a Journalist with a post graduate degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. I love reading non-fiction books, exploring different destinations and varieties of cuisines. Biographies and historical movies are few favourites.

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