4 Areas AgriTech Startups Are Innovating In


This guest column is authored by marketing expert Madhurashree M.

There are so many technologies exist which will help agriculturist in order to attain the better result. We realized that most of the agriculturists are not aware of the opportunities available in the market. This is our tribute to those agriculturists, letting them know a few technologies which can make a great impact on agriculture by listing & explaining in this article.

Diseases and Pest Control

Preventing diseases and pests is an important aspect, ensuring high productivity in agriculture. Identifying the symptoms of disease and alerting about the same with suggestions to tackle the situation would be an amazing asset to the farmers.

This is one area where companies like agVerdit, Dolphin-engineering (funded by Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation) etc. are helping the farmers on the field.

For example, Dolphin engineering’s’ product preDevine is a web Decision Support System based on wireless sensor networks and prediction algorithms, able to monitor the vineyard micro-climate conditions with the goal to predict vineyards pests/diseases.

The device monitors multiple environmental parameters, transmit the sensor data to a data center equipped with sets of algorithms, where the system stores and elaborates the data and provides prediction as result. End users can read the result by accessing the PreDiVine system on a computer, tablet, or a smart phone.

Timely Irrigation and Soil Health

IoT is an unique opportunity where sensor hardware comes in touch with decision driving software supported over cloud. Combining multiple sensors for temperature, soil moisturize, nutrients, weather etc deliver a powerful decision making system.

A very needed and an interesting project is Bangalore-based Greenopia, smart gardening kit developer. Greenopia at its current scale aims at delivering smart pots which can be used for growing plants. Along with these pots, it also
provides mobile application which acts like a Personal Garden Assistant. You can monitor the growth of plant, water it (as alerted by app sometimes) by a single click on the phone.

The smart pot has sensors that detect the status of a plant, like whether it’s receiving enough water and sunlight, or if soil conditions are optimum. Even though Greenopia is catering to smaller segment, its influence on the plant cultivation is interesting. In fact there are companies like Senseye who are growing big in this arena. They are getting the power of machine learning, predictive analysis, semantic analysis and AI to get the alert system working for the farmers.

Aerial survey to detect anomalies

If you are a farmer with a lot of land, it would be difficult to monitor it. What if you had a unmanned machine that could fly on your farm, record the things which you want to know, take the high quality pictures down to the level of centimeters and provide you the changes in comparison to previous ones?

This is exactly what UAV agritech companies do. Their simple UAV with vision, multi-spectral, thermal and LIDAR sensors can measure the change in height of crops/trees etc.

Packaging and Transporting

Another important aspect in agriculture is the time to market. For few, the market reach is severely restricted as some of the agricultural products such as flowers and fruits are bound to decay or ripen too early.

For years, growers and shippers tried to protect their cargo with traditional controlled or modified atmosphere systems, fungicides, and temperature recorders. But these systems lacked vital capabilities. They couldn’t reduce decay, reduce pathogens, control ripening, and enhance food safety simultaneously. They couldn’t be monitored in real time. And the reefer conditions couldn’t be adjusted en route. California-based Purfresh solves these problems.

Purfresh doesn’t use any chemicals to solve these issues. They make use of the power of ozone. Ozone (O3) oxidizes decay causing & pathogenic microbial resulting in reducing decay. It also removes Ethylene resulting in controlling the ripening of fruits.

Another aspect is the entire journey of the cargo can be tracked in real time and finer adjustments can be made based on the situations like acute shortage of power, high tides etc.

Image Credit – Elsevier

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