Agri-tech startup AgSpert, co-founded by the students of IIT Guwahati and the alumni of NIT Silchar and Dibrugarh University, Assam developed a multi-lingual smartphone application, AgSpeak, for the farmers.
The application has been developed for the farmers so that they can smartly manage their farms and remotely monitor distress activities.
Developed with the goal of optimising the in-farm productivity through Artificial Intelligence (AI), this application will help the farmers in making decisions and managing farm activities by the click of a single button on their smartphone or computer.
AgSpeak was launched by Prof. T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati on Sunday in Guwahati.
AgSpert is co-founded by Siddhartha Bora (NIT Silchar alumnus), CEO, Manik Mittal (IITG student), COO, Akash Sharma (IITG student), SDE, Nitin Chauhan (IITG student), Cloud Systems Architect, Dhritiman Talukdar (NIT Silchar alumnus), SDE and Kookil Pran Goswami (Dibrugarh University alumnus), hardware developer.
AgSpert is leading the initiative in Northeastern India which has untapped potential, with diverse ecosystems having agriculture as the major economic activity.
The developed application is multi-lingual and has an option of Assamese as well. This feature is a first among all the agri-tech applications available in the market.
Driven by hyper-local crop data coming from satellite and smart IoT devices, AgSpeak considers up to 20 local crop parameters which are key indicators of their health like temperature, rainfall, sunlight hours, soil health status, among others, to alert farmers about probable crop threats in advance.
It also suggests best practices to tackle the incoming threat, hence optimising the resources used and maximising productivity.
The app along with the IOT hardware has been tested for the last 3 months with 500 farmers and 2 tea estates.
Some of the major breakthroughs by the algorithm were precise prediction of Blight in potato and Tea mosquito bug , along with Water stress in winter crops.
“These are major reasons of woes to farmers and small tea growers of Assam and cause lakhs in crop damages if not controlled in time,” the IIT Guwahati said.
Major commercial users of the product include commercial plantation farms (tea, lemon orchards, grape vineyards).
“The New Farm Bill 2020 is likely to boost formation of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)/ Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) among general crop growers to work as a business as well, which is likely to increase adaptation of paid services that comes with the mobile app,” it added.
IIT Guwahati informed that nearly 250 farmers have already been provided hands-on training in utilizing the full potential of the app. However, the user-friendliness and multilingual features of the app make it extremely easy for farmers to use and seldom require training.
The mobile app is completely free for general small farmers.
There are in-app purchases like soil testing and agri-doctor consultation. Besides this, the IOT devices can be rented for monthly /yearly purposes by commercial farms to further enhance precision farm management.
It has been tested with many farmers and its practical utility established.
Congratulating the young entrepreneurs, IIT Guwahati director Prof. TG Sitharam said, “It is a matter of immense pride that our students are working to bring out a state-of-the-art technology for India’s farmers.”
“India is a leading agricultural country with immense potential, yet 2 billion people globally did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food in 2019 alone. To end this global starvation, we need to double agricultural productivity in the next 15 years,” the IIT Guwahati director said.
“Unless we use technology appropriately in the agricultural sector, this would be impossible. Additionally, to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), we have ten more years to fulfil this SDG and to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” he added.
“In all these directions, unless new technology is used, we will not be able to succeed. India aspires to become a US$ 5 trillion economy, and unless the younger generation of today’s India don’t stand up we cannot take on this challenge,” he further said.
“I’m immensely proud of our students and wish them all the best for the immense contribution they are making for the farmers of our country,” Prof Sitharam said.