Unfair pricing of agriculture produce is observed due to the fluctuating quality and standard of the produce. In the normal course, a buyer determines visually how much grain is destroyed by pests, and if foreign particles are present, before offering the farmer a price. But this process is subjective and prone to error. Visual inspection relies too much on the buyer’s expertise, and unscrupulous middlemen may cheat farmers.
Hence, the fair and comprehensive grading system of agriculture produce is required. Despite the benefits associated with the grading system; it is still not practised due to several reasons such as - High costs, non-availability of technology and awareness amongst the stakeholders. Thus necessitating a physical assessment of produce to determine the specification and quality of the produce.
To overcome such concerns, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence are being employed for quality grading of agriculture products. Automated quality analysis of images of food products with artificial intelligence is an accurate and reliable method for grading fresh products characterized by colour, size and shape. It processes the image that a farmer has taken on his phone and determines the product quality in real time, without any manual intervention.
This new innovative technique has given rise to the global precision farming market which is anticipated to reach USD 10.23 billion by 2025, as per by Grand ViewResearch.
Various startups are developing the proprietary technology through which it makes it easier and relatively inexpensive to determine the quality and size of the farm produce. One such holistic tech platforms for income augmentation is Agricx which is helping farmers get a fair price by grading and certifying their produce with its AI-based SaaS solution. Agricx has partnered with premium cold storages across India to list their certified produce like Potatoes.
Other player that has been creating a ripple in the industry is Bengaluru based agritech startup Intello Labs which uses Artificial Intelligence and deep learning for crop quality parameters like crop infestation, nutrient deficiency harvest quality evaluation of fruits, vegetables, grains and other crops and farm to fork commodities etc. Intello Labs offers such solutions to F&B firms, food retail, etc.
Government entities are also crafting strategies around developing AI-based systems for precision farming. The agriculture ministry has tied up with ISRO to launch FASAL, a remote-sensing and data-analysis platform to analyse and predict yields of most major crops. Furthermore, NITI Aayog has suggested setting up a network of basic and applied AI research institutes for precision farming.
India, a country of 30 million farmers with smartphones, is still far from developing a dedicated precision farming market. With the right policy approach from Government entities and focused research inputs from agricultural universities, Indian farmers can ride on AI wave to create a tech-enabled farming revolution.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Pankaj Tadas