He added that IFFCO Kisan’s technology involvement enabled institutional buyers such as food processing industries and exporters to monitor the quality of the product using a QR code, which helped increase the value of the crops.
IFFCO Kisan, a value-added service provider, aims to extend a pilot project on advisory services aimed at the growth of efficiency, yield, and income of farmers, after achieving over 90% accuracy in tracking crops and guiding farmer’s technology.
“Farmers need to know about problems with three to four major issues, such as water, seeds, fertilizer, and pests, and timely awareness and action has proven to help improve crop production and value,” said Sandeep Malhotra, CEO of IFFCO Kisan. In select districts of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, about 1,500 farmers were covered under a pilot project for five crops — wheat, paddy, soybean, cotton, and ginger, he added.
“We installed weather stations in those areas, which were sponsored by the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) and Nabard, as well as ground sensors. Using artificial intelligence, we were able to track the soil conditions, including nutrients and moisture and crop growth. We also double-checked the advisory produced by technology with physical confirmation, and it was accurate to the tune of 90-95 percent,” Malhotra told FE.
He added that IFFCO Kisan’s technology involvement enabled institutional buyers such as food processing industries and exporters to monitor the quality of the product using a QR code, which helped increase the value of the crops. The inclusion of a traceability feature helped exporters know information about where the crop was cultivated, what pesticides were used how many times, and so on, since they need crops that adhere to those requirements in buyer countries and use the correct pesticides under specified limits (maximum residue level or MRL).
Vishal Tiwari, a farmer in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur district, is able to pay a premium for consulting services because he thinks it will raise paddy and wheat yields, thereby reducing his input costs by 20%. On 40-45 acres, Tiwari is in charge of paddy, maize, moong, and vegetable cultivation. IFFCO Kisan’s consultancy was beneficial, but he thinks it would have been much easier if it had connected farmers like him with institutional buyers.
Satyendra Sahu, another Jabalpur resident, did not find the IFFCO Kisan consultancy service particularly useful. “I already followed what its representative said because I visit the nearby agriculture university regularly,” said Sahu, who grows paddy and wheat on 35 acres. He, like Tiwari, is looking for marketing help because he can’t find buyers for the organic paddy he began on three acres four years ago.
Malhotra claims that digitization and geo-locational mapping of related farms and producers would position the farmer producer organization (FPO) as ready for the future blockchain ecosystem. Since foraying into spice manufacturing under the ‘Swarnahar’ name, his company has begun collaborating with FPOs also for purchasing drugs.
Farmers as individuals might focus on modern financial tools like credit cards, debit card online transactions, etc.