Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

The duo using drones to help farmers

BharatRohan Airborne Innovations uses UAV/drone hyperspectral imaging technologies to detect potential crop threats

Naini Thaker
Published: Feb 4, 2021 09:51:55 AM IST
Updated: Mar 20, 2021 02:03:17 AM IST

The duo using drones to help farmers(From left) Rishabh Choudhary and Amandeep Panwar
Image: Amit Verma

Amandeep Panwar | 27
Rishabh Choudhary    | 27
CEO and CTO, BharatRohan Airborne Innovations

Aeronautical engineers Amandeep Panwar and Rishabh Choudhary started interacting with farmers during their undergraduate studies in Lucknow. They were testing drones in fields and soon realised that farmers were facing trouble understanding and identifying crop threats, such as pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies, early.

“That is when we thought of doing something in the remote sensing space,” recalls Panwar, adding that they decided to work with farmers directly. The duo use drones to collect accurate data from a height of 60m. Another technology—hyperspectral imaging—helps identify biochemical changes in plants due to pest diseases or nutrient deficiency.

At present, via the UAV/Drone hyperspectral imaging technology, the five-year-old startup provides farmers with a decision support system. “This data saves the cost of additional pesticides and crop damage and prevents crop losses, which means farmers earn better margins,” says Choudhary.

Periodic drone-based aerial services are carried out every 7-15 days throughout the cropping season. Post this, in the next 48 hours, recommendations are sent to farmers. “The farmers then sell their produce to us, which we sell to larger domestic and international buyers who demand pesticide residue-free products,” Panwar explains.

Most of BharatRohan’s clients include FMCG companies and retailers, who then sell to the consumers. “The value addition for farmers is that we are buying their produce at good prices and also providing them with data that prevents crop damage and increases profitability per acre,” he adds.

The duo has received over ₹1.8 crore in funding from organisations including BIRAC, Caspian Impact Investments and Villgro. Currently, the Delhi-based startup has a revenue of ₹2 crore, and is hoping to reach ₹3.5 crore by the end of this financial year.

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“BharatRohan has integrated supply chain solutions to advisory [services]. Farmers not only get data-driven insights, but also products and services for agri inputs and market linkages for selling output,” says Hemendra Mathur, venture partner, Bharat Innovation Fund.

The duo using drones to help farmers

(This story appears in the 12 February, 2021 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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