Saturday, September 30, 2023

How Cropin is planning to tackle world food shortages with cloud technology

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In a world where the United Nations warns as many as 276 million people about food insecurity, the global agricultural sector is under enormous pressure to increase production. But major challenges stand in the way of that goal, from geopolitical tensions to climate change. Agricultural Technology (Agtech) Company crop hopes its digital tools can make a huge difference in supporting the industry in reducing food shortages and hunger worldwide.

Launched in 2010, Cropin has spent the past 12 years building a range of technologies based on digitization and the use of data in agriculture. The idea is to provide agribusiness and other key players in the sector’s value chain with intelligence to help them make smarter decisions – about which crops to plant, when and where, for example, about the amount of irrigation and fertilizer needed to increase yields. optimisation, on how to prevent disease, and on a range of other factors critical to delivering the supplies the world needs.

The latest stage in the company’s evolution is today’s launch of Cropin Cloud, a new platform that provides access to a wide range of digital technologies in a single location.

“The global agricultural ecosystem is facing major disruptions due to climate change, geopolitical tensions, challenges in the food supply chain and an ever-expanding global population,” said Krishna Kumar, CEO and co-founder of the company. “Solving these challenges requires a technology platform that empowers ecosystem players to transform their businesses.”

The idea is to combine three different sets of tools in one place. First, the platform provides access to a range of apps with different use cases across the agricultural sector, targeting farmers and large agri-businesses, as well as other players such as banks and insurers. These offer benefits ranging from better supply chain visibility to better risk management.

The second element of the platform is a data hub, which allows users to combine a huge range of data; this includes data coming from customers themselves, for example via remote sensors, Internet of Things connected devices and machines and drones, as well as third-party sources such as satellite imagery.

The third piece of the puzzle is Cropin’s intelligence tools, which include 22 models that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to support better planning and forecasting in areas such as crop detection, crop stage identification, yield estimation, irrigation planning, and pest and disease prediction.

It’s the ability to leverage all three suites of tools simultaneously, which Cropin believes will be particularly powerful. While the agtech sector has made significant progress in recent years and has developed into one of the most popular technology areas, the unified solutions common in other industries are thin on the ground.

Cropin also points to its competitive advantage in having spent the past 12 years building its data and intelligence globally. As a result, it now has critical data on more than 500 crops — and 10,000 varieties of those crops — in more than 90 countries around the world. The founders initially focused on developing countries such as India, but soon realized that a lack of technology and data was not exclusive to these countries. So far, Cropin has been able to digitize 16 million hectares of farmland and the company believes it has improved the lives of more than 7 million farmers.

“Agricultural technology is complex and requires specialized expertise in multiple areas such as geographic information systems, agricultural science, AI and ML models, weather data and IoT, among others,” said Vijay Nelson, Chief Product Officer of Cropin. “Crops are hugely diversified and the digital solutions needed to monitor them need to be adapted.”

The company’s customer base is largely made up of larger companies that subscribe to Cropin’s services through a software-as-a-service model. These include multinational food companies that work with farmers in countries around the world, who want to help these producers increase their yields and become more resilient, as well as banks and insurers that provide essential financial services to the industry.

Key challenges include helping industry adapt to climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, and combating food waste. Demand for food production will double in the next 20 to 30 years, Cropin emphasizes, with a target for the world’s population to exceed 10 billion by the middle of the century.

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