Samhitha Crop Care Clinics provides precision farming advisory to farmers. A team of qualified and experienced agri-professionals keeps an eye on the crops at all times. Farmers, Field Assistants, and Advisors are the three main components of this system. Farmers who want to make farming easier and more profitable by using sustainable farming practices should register with the system.
Krishi Jagran spoke with Kalyan Enjamoori, the company Chief Technology Officer, to gain a better understanding of how Samhitha Crop Care Clinics works. Through his technological expertise, Kalyan is helping Samhitha build technological solutions for Indian farmers.
1. Tell us about Samhitha Crop Care Clinics and your journey so far.
Samhitha was formally established in February 2021. We have onboarded 4,000 acres of citrus fields in Telangana, representing 700+ farmers. By the end of 2022, We are on target to onboard 10,000 acres. Samhitha’s founding team has deep roots in agriculture and technology. Dr. Shyam Sundar Reddy (CEO), Jagan Chitiprolu (CMD), and I have a combined experience of 50 years in Agri-tech solutions for farmers in India and developed countries.
Samhitha raised $ 1.5 million in a seed round led by TechStar Group, with participation from Quadrant Resource and angel investors, in November 2021. Samhitha has been able to provide world-class advisory services to citrus farmers in Telangana thanks to an able team of plant doctors , soil scientists, and technology experts.
2. What’s the problem Samhitha is trying to solve through its offerings?
Based on our extensive research we have seen that Profitability and Crop Longevity are two major problems of Horticulture Farmers in India. Some of the other problems are:
Imbalanced Fertilizer application
Defective Irrigation & Spray schedules
Late detection of Pests and Diseases
Poor handling of underground seepage and drainage water
By providing Advisory services to Citrus farmers Samhitha plans to
Double the average Citrus tree age from 12 years to 24 years
Decrease Cost of Cultivation by 30%
Double the Crop Yield
Increase A grade fruit by 25%
3. Throw some light on your business model. What is your monetization model?
Samhitha provides Precision Advisory services to Citrus farmers through a unique combination of Plant & Soil Expertise and the latest technological advancements.
Once the farmer is onboarded, a Soil Test report is generated with 12 different vitals; followed by a Drone survey and a comprehensive Digital Tree Health Audit (DTHA) where every tree in the field is tagged. Scouting for 52 different Citrus problems is conducted for every tree and data is captured through images & videos in the Mobile App. This data is then analyzed by our Advisors (Plant doctors) and relevant advice is delivered to the farmer through Mobile App & SMS.
Samhitha conducts its business through Revenue sharing model. We charge a One-time Registration Fee of Rs. 1,000 per acre, and Advisory Services Fees of ₹ 10,000 per acre post-harvest every season.
4. What technologies have you been leveraging to disrupt the agricultural space in the country?
A combination of cloud services, Drones, IoT devices, Mobile Apps, and AI / ML algorithms are used to capture data and provide advisory to farmers.
Drones survey helps provide a high-level understanding of field vitals such as Plant Stress and Canopy cover
Ground truth and Aerial data captured through IoT devices accompanied with Soil Moisture, Soil Temperature sensors and Weather station give a holistic picture of the Soil, Tree & Micro-climatic conditions
Our Citron Mobile App with computer vision capabilities detects 52 different problems that affect Citrus Crops
Based on our Internal Knowledge Base and Research publications our AI & ML algorithms automatically generate Cost-effective Advisory solutions, these are ratified by our Advisors before they are published to the farmers.
Through our Citron Mobile App farmer is given access to Soil Test Reports, Drone Reports, Tree status, Spray & Irrigation Schedules & Tree level Bi-weekly Advisory in the Local language.
5. How do you compare and contrast India’s agriculture sector with that of other economies?
India’s Agriculture sector is one of its kind in the world due to various cultural and socio-economic reasons. In most, developed nations Agriculture employment is less than 10% of the total workforce. In India 42.6% of the Workforce is employed in Agriculture, despite this their contribution to the GDP is only 20.19%. Even a marginal increase in per capita income of the Indian farmers can bring huge benefits to India.
Remote sensing through Low Orbiting Satellites (LEO) is done in various nations for identifying plant stress and defects. But their effectiveness in providing crop advisory in India has been met with huge challenges. Ideal Weather conditions, Crop Homogeneity, and sizeable acreages are desired requirements for Remote sensing. But, Unpredictable Cloud cover, Crop Diversification practices and Marginal landholding (85% of Indian farmers are Marginal farmers with less than 2.5 acres) are common norms in India
High Mobile Penetration (68% in Rural India) and Low Data Cost have played a critical role in the delivery of cloud-based digital services to farmers. 80% of Samhitha’s Farmers are Smartphone users. Supply Chain disruptions & eLearning adoption during Covid have also contributed to the high acceptance of new-age Digital Services.
6. What gives your company a competitive advantage?
1. Being true to Precision Farming we capture data at the most granular level ie, at the tree level. This helps us give tree specific advisory thus ensuring
Significant decrease in input expenses
Increased yield per acre
Decreased variability across the field
Increase in the cultivation of High-quality produce thus increasing the profitability
2. In-house development of IoT devices & ML algorithms have ensured that we are able to build accurate and cost-effective Decision Support Systems
3. Customer Onboarding is easier as there is no upfront CAPEX / OPEX cost borne by the farmer
4. We have built a database of over 3 Lakh citrus trees, and by capturing 52 different problems of Citrus trees we are currently a Leader in Citrus Advisory in India.
5. Due to the employment of local youth (> 75% of our employees are locally hired), we have been able to build a strong farmer community. Our Customer Acquisition Cost is very low as more than 50% of our farmers are referrals.
6. Due to Bi-weekly connect with the farmer and high NPS (currently 90%) introducing new services (ex: Market Linkages) to the farmers has not been challenging
7. Timely delivery & High quality of fruit are non-negotiable criteria when partnering with Modern retailers. Due to the stronghold that Samhitha has on the Crop cycle and Fruit quality, we are seeing keen interest from modern retail channels for partnerships.
7. Elaborate on the present market scenario. What kind of business opportunities do you see in this segment?
Produce Marketing & Inputs play a key role in determining Farmer’s Savings, Profitability & Crop Longevity. Pre-determined Farm gate prices, highly volatile Mandi prices, and high Logistics costs (Rs. 80,000 per acre) may not give desirable profit to the farmer. Unavailability of Input supplies (Fertilizers, Pesticides) is also a challenge.
Apart from Advisory services Samhitha is currently exploring Market Linkages in the Modern Retail segment & Mandis. We are also exploring partnerships with Companies for Input linkages.
8. What is the product / service enhancement roadmap?
We will be rolling out the following products and services in the coming 6 months.
Mobile Apps for Modern Retail and Mandi to raise indent
Degree Brix (sugar content) measurement to provide consistent quality Fruit for Modern Retailers
Mobile Apps and APIs for Banking and Insurance companies to analyze Farmers’ data for providing Credit & Insurance
9. Lastly, what are your expansion plans for the coming 3-5 years?
In the next three years, we hope to onboard 1 lakh citrus acres. We plan to expand our services in the neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra over the next three years, and throughout India within the next five years. We are also planning to expand into other cash crops like Mirchi, papaya, grapes, pomegranates, and mangoes. Expansion in Market Linkages, Input Linkages, Partnerships for Credit Linkages & Crop insurance are currently being explored.
(Author: Shivam Dwivedi)