NABARD-backed technology project comes to the aid of farmers

January 04, 2023 10:28 pm | Updated January 05, 2023 09:34 am IST - KOCHI

Technology has never been the forte of farmers in Kerala.

But that has changed for 1,000 farmers in Kannur district, thanks to a mobile application-driven pilot project backed by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). The goal is to deploy the latest weather forecasting and advisories to farmers of the State to enhance their productivity and ensure financial resilience.

The project is the result of a collaborative agreement between mistEO, a climate fintech company providing climate change adaptation know-how and technologies to private enterprises and governments, and DeepFlow Technologies, a Kerala Startup Mission-backed agri-tech start-up assisting farmers in adopting proper crop and production management.

“We are the first start-up to directly partner with NABARD since the announcement in the last Central budget of routing assistance to agri start-ups through NABARD. We have developed an Artificial Intelligence-based mobile application, Farmer’s Assist, through which farmers will be given customised advisories based on a slew of factors like crop varieties, farming practices, soil condition, etc. It will also serve as a platform for farmers to sell their produce directly to customers,” said Atthri Anand, co-founder and chief executive officer of DeepFlow Technologies, which is currently incubated at IIM Bengaluru.

NABARD will subsidise the app and related services thus making it affordable to farmers by bearing 75% of the subscription fee in the initial year.

On part, mistEO will deploy its IoT-based Augmented Weather Station Network (A-WSN) and its ‘Indra’ weather forecasting models to farmers who subscribe Farmer’s Assist. “We will provide hyper-local weather data based on which advisories will be issued to farmers helping them with better risk assessment. Once we create a better weather information data layer, the next step would be to provide customised weather risk insurance solution to farmers based on that data. Besides, the insurance will be claimless as once the weather event occurs, the claim will be computed and paid automatically,” said Samuel John, CEO, mistEO.

A fully automated parametric insurance solution for small holder farmers will be tested on the integrated platform, enabling farmers to access custom-made crop insurance policies designed for local conditions. The solution helps with faster payouts, reduction of basis risks, and reduced administrative costs for farmers.

The project mainly covers rice, pepper, coconut, and areca nut with vegetables to be covered soon. Farmers who were part of farmer producer organisations backed by NABARD were given preference under the project followed by an orientation session.

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