Under its pilot run in the Telangana region, Samhitha Crop Care Clinics, a unique precision farming advisory aimed at increasing the bottom line of Indian farmers, focused exclusively on citrus growers who faced low crop yield and lifespan. According to reports, the average citrus crop yield in India is five tonnes against 15 tonnes per acre in the western nations, while lifespan averages about 12 years, against 45 years in the west.
Spanning across four lakh trees and over 3,500 acres, Samhitha’s precision farming advisory enabled farmers to clock over 30% higher yield year over year and identified over 52 on-field defects. And this happened after input cost reduction, driven by smart irrigation and continuous crop monitoring.
Samhitha, an initiative of Naviz Analytics, a US-based data science firm, leverages drones, soil telemetry, weather stations, among other modern technologies, along with agriculture experts on the ground who communicate the insights to farmers.
G Jagdish Reddy, Minister for Energy, Government of Telangana, urged farmers to switch over to new cultivation methods from traditional practices and use modern technologies to achieve higher crop yields.
Dr G Syamasundar Reddy, CEO, Samhitha, an ex-professor, IIIT Hyderabad said, “In Andhra Pradesh, two citrus fruits – sweet orange and acid lime – are cultivated extensively, but growers face lower crop yield. They end up using fertilisers and herbicides which increases short-term yield, but significantly reduces the crop life.”
“With Samhitha, we have empowered citrus growers financially, while ensuring optimum crop yield, soil health, and minimum wastage of natural resources”, he added.
According to Kalyan Enjamoori, CTO, Samhitha, “Samhitha collects and analyses data for parameters like soil, rainfall, air, leaf wetness, irrigation water quality, among others, wherein drones monitor the crops continuously for any stress, and can detect it instantaneously with the help of customised AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning algorithms.”
Speaking on the inspiration behind Samhitha, Jagan Chitiprolu, a serial entrepreneur and Harvard Business School alumnus, said, “In India, agriculture supports the livelihood of over 60 per cent of the population, where 82 per cent farmers are small or marginalised, and contribute to over 18 per cent GDP. They have limited access to high-end technology, crop experts, and markets. Samhitha was conceptualised with a singular goal – offer precision farming advisory to farmers. We empower the agriculture experts on the ground with insights, who in turn, guide the farmers – this guidance usually starts from seed selection to planting, irrigation to fertilisers, and harvesting to soil quality.”
Post this pilot launch, Samhitha plans to accelerate its precision farming advisory services across the nation, empowering the farmers and the economy sustainably.