At a time when countries across the globe are facing a number of challenges in agriculture, India’s agritech companies and startups are providing innovative, sustainable solutions. They are leveraging data mining and artificial intelligence capabilities to improve farm productivity. The Weather Company, an IBM business, held a first-of-its-kind event titled The AgriTech Challenge 2018 in Mumbai on 13 June 2018 to find solutions to transform the lives of over three million Indian farmers. The event was held in association with the Agripreneurs Group, SMART AGRIPOST and Graype.in.
The event saw participation from many noted names in the agri-tech ecosystem with agronomists, insurers, bankers, entrepreneurs, influencers, global investors and researchers coming together to discuss some of the pressing challenges affecting the community. Around 180 delegates, including an enterprising group of agripreneurs — keen on leveraging the power of IoT and data science to drive innovation at the grassroots level — came together to power agritech innovations. Delegates from The Weather Company pitched how to leverage the power of weather data in platforms to transform the lives of over 3 million farmers in India.
Crowdsourcing Solutions And Presenting To An Expert Panel
The one-of-its-kind event featured an ideation JAM that gave an opportunity to the attendees and delegates to brainstorm over the problem statements and present ideas to the panellists. Some of top speakers and panelists included Chacko Jacob, Global Agribusiness Lead from Watson Content and IoT Platform, Ramesh Ramachandran, SVP of Strategy and Precision Farming from Mahindra & Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Business, Ajay Desai, Chief Operating Officer at Rubique, Rajesh Kumar R, Group Head of Credit Policy, Portfolio Management and Risk Analytics at HDFC Bank, Arindom Datta, Asia Head, Sustainability Banking at Rabobank, Sagar Kaushik, Chief Operating Officer at United Phosphorous Limited, Raul Rebello, Senior Vice President and Head of Rural Lending at Axis Bank. From The Weather Company Asia-Pacific Leader Hitesh Upadhyay and India Business Leader Himanshu Goyal were present. Sanjaya Kumar Saxena, IBM Champion and Consultant at Graype Systems (P) Ltd and Hemendra Mathur, Venture Partner with Bharat Innovations Fund, a well-known name in the agritech investment circle, also attended the event.
The Problem Statements Were:
- Cracking evapotranspiration to optimise irrigation, soil and plant health
- Combating the second largest cause of 35 percent crop loss
- Reverse engineering the supply chain to find profits
- Bringing visibility and certainty to mitigate risk at all levels
Speakers Explored How To Leverage Data-driven Insights For Agriculture
During the event, Durjoy Mazumdar,Global Head of Enterprise Sales, IBM Watson Content & IoT and Sriram Raghavan,Vice President, IBM Research & CTO, IBM India spoke about why weather matters and the role of The Weather Company in transforming the agriculture sector with new age technologies such as AI and blockchain. Meanwhile, Sanjaya Saxena from Graype Systems delved into the complexity of weather prediction using The Butterfly Effect concept. He talked about the power of machine learning and natural language processing and how it can be leveraged for hyperlocal agriculture-related data, correlated with hyperlocal weather feed to weave agricultural solutions
Unique Initiative Was Hailed By Agripreneurs
The rich congregation of stakeholders hailed the unique event which was truly driven by the community. Most agripreneurs also commended the ideation team behind the event led by Himanshu Goyal, Pratibha Ryali and Anitha Kannan from The Weather Company. Efforts of Hemendra Mathur, Sanjaya Saxena, Rachna Chakraborthy Ravishankar Mantha, and Prateep Basu were also lauded at the event.
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Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.