Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

AI special: The companies taking the farm to table(t)

This next phase in agritech, using artificial intelligence, could change the game for the industry in India

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Aug 5, 2021 10:09:27 AM IST
Updated: Aug 13, 2021 07:59:58 PM IST

AI special: The companies taking the farm to table(t)AgNext has innovated multiple sensor-based devices to capture data that its AI algorithms crunch to determine quality
Illustration: Sameer Pawar

For founder and CEO of AgNext Technologies Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, the raison d’être for the Chandigarh startup was to build data-driven solutions to tackle various problems in agriculture. And one of the important aims was to eliminate the subjectivity around the quality of food, be it at the farm gate or at a warehouse or a factory.

To this end, AgNext has innovated multiple sensor-based devices that use everything from optical cameras to infrared imaging to even sound to capture data that its AI algorithms crunch to determine quality. The company also worked for years to develop ‘AI-on-the-edge’ technologies so that users don’t have to send data back to a cloud-based programme.

One of the first things AgNext did was to use computer vision to determine the quality of foodgrain “on the spot”. A simple example is how AgNext’s sensors and AI algorithms combine to differentiate between a natural white coating on a grain of maize and a white coat of fungus.

The startup built devices to check for quality based on the chemical composition of products like honey or spices or fat content in milk. It reduced the time needed for quality checks from three days at a lab to 30 seconds on the spot.

“Today we are one of the world leaders in applying spectral sciences to analysing food; we’ve built more than 120 algorithms around it,” Bhamra says. “We started in India, and now we are ready to go global.”

AI special: The companies taking the farm to table(t)

The company consolidated all its AI tech to feed into a data management platform called Qualix, which allows customers to manage their business operations based on the data on quality and other parameters. “It’s a one-of-its-kind platform that gives you a 360-degree view of your procurement,” Bhamra adds.

At Stellapps Technologies, a company that provides technology to the dairy supply chain in India, work is on to commercialise an AI-based facial recognition product for cattle, called smartMoo. The ‘mooID’ from smartMoo relies on Stellapps’ proprietary AI algorithm to compare biometric images of cattle with existing records to authenticate and identify cattle uniquely. smartMoo ID can be integrated with herd management applications to maintain biometric data logs of the cattle.

It helps create easier access to cattle insurance for farmers by simplifying the claim settlement process through biometric registration and verification of the cattle. It can impart traceability in the milk value chain by enabling proof of origin of cattle. It can ensure fair trade during the purchase or sale of cattle through cattle ID authentication and a digital transaction log. Its features include self-learning capabilities, and it is fully customisable. Stellapps expects to launch smartMoo in six months.

The company has also developed mooON, an animal health monitoring and herd management solution, which helps with accurate detection of oestrus and preventive health care. It also offers customised nutrition advisory.

(This story appears in the 13 August, 2021 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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