The increasing demand for food products is driving farmers and agro companies to find newer ways to increase production and reduce waste. To address the issue, experts are turning to digital interventions and artificial intelligence to find viable solutions, which are steadily emerging as a part of the agriculture industry’s technological evolution. AI-powered solutions have been enabling farmers to improve efficiencies. It is also enhancing quantity, quality, and ensuring faster go-to-market for crops. And in this arena, Cropin is one name that has been leveraging digital tools and artificial intelligence to benefit the agriculture landscape.
Cropin is a global ag-ecosystem intelligence provider whose suite of products assists stakeholders in the agroecosystem, including even financial services providers, to adopt and drive digital strategy across their agricultural operations. Using cutting-edge technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and remote sensing, Cropin creates an intelligent, interconnected data platform. Cropin helps organizations digitize their operations from farm to fork and leverage near real-time farm data as well as actionable insights to make effective decisions.
The Initial Idea
Cropin was founded by Krishna Kumar, Co-founder, and CEO, along with his childhood friend Kunal Prasad who is currently the COO of the company. “In 2010, we saw massive distress in the agriculture sector that was real and had to be addressed. We found an opportunity to impact society and the world at large by building a technology solution for the agriculture sector,” said Kumar. Though there have been several technological advances in farming, by 2010, the sector had not yet reaped the benefits of various new technological advances in data science and artificial intelligence that could give a boost to the agriculture industry. This lack of initiative inspired the founders to come up with the idea of making this industry data-driven and democratizing data for all the key stakeholders in the value chain with their services.
Digitizing the Farm Landscape
Cropin builds products that enable its customers to digitize their farming practices and allow multiple data sources to connect with farm data. The company unifies disparate data sources across the farming process, allowing agro-industry players to derive and act on critical agri-intelligence. Cropin builds a single, holistic view of the risks and opportunities across the crop value chain.
Recently, Cropin announced the launch of Cropin Cloud, the world’s first purpose-built industry cloud for agriculture. Cropin Cloud is a multi-tenant, scalable, flexible, secure, and intelligent platform enabling development agencies, governments, agri-businesses, and allied industries to boost digital transformation across the agro-industry. “Cropin Cloud is an integrated platform of applications for digitized, contextual, and clean data pipelines for enhanced decision-making through data analytics as well as globally proven crop and geography-agnostic, crop-specific machine learning models,” explained Cropin’s CEO.
Within the Cropin Cloud, Cropin Apps are the solutions that help streamline farm data capture, management, as well as other complex field operations involved during seed production, seeds strain tracking/trialing across generations, crop protection, nutrition development for row crops, horticulture and plantations. The application platform comprises an integrated portfolio of mobile apps and web solutions that one can choose from. These include:
Cropin Grow is a farm monitoring and management solution to help you geotag your farms, digitize farm/farmer records, share advisory, monitor crop productivity, improve farm efficiency, and boost field officer productivity. It enables geotag farm plots for area audit and helps crop health management by monitoring crop performance for yield predictability. It can also set pest as well as disease alerts and manage alerts/activity logs.
Cropin Connect is a seamless communication solution connecting growers, agri-businesses, and field officers to help digitize grower activities. It can monitor plots easily, record task progress, raise alerts to get instant advice, gather farmer feedback, and market services to farmers. It also has multiple language support and a simplified user interface.
Cropin Trace is a QR code-enabled farm-to-fork traceability solution to track and meet quality benchmarks. It eliminates counterfeiting and ensures that everyone involved in bringing food to our table is recognized and rewarded. Cropin enables end-to-end traceability and facilitates customizable, weatherproof, and tamper-proof labels.
Collecting Data with Cropin Data Hub
Cropin Data Hub enables easy management as well as allows access to structured and unstructured agri-data sources for raw and processed incoming data pipelines. Cropin Data Hub addresses this by structuring agri-data through an agri-object model, which enables it to interface with all agri-data sources such as in-field farm management apps, IoT devices and drones, mechanization data from farming equipment, remote sensing satellite information, and weather advisory sources.
The Cropin Data Hub also has pre-built advanced data frameworks designed to solve the most common and constantly challenging problems in agriculture remote monitoring, such as cloud-free satellite imagery, boundary-detection of farm plots, and segmentation of land use. It enables combining enterprise, agronomy, and remote field data with Cropin’s Crop Intelligence models/datasets to surface significant insights for the business, while sparing the need to expend critical resources on re-inventing the wheel. The three steps involved in the process are:
Collect: Aggregating data from various sources across applications, IoT devices, weather and earth observation data, amongst others.
Clean: Processing data inputs with meta-data to solve for search and query needs.
Contextualize: Making contextual custom reports/visualizations available on OLAP for easy access and use.
Dynamic Decision-making with Cropin Intelligence
Cropin Intelligence is enabling dynamic decision-making on and off the field through the actionable predictive insights generated by their mature machine learning models. Cropin has built several contextual deep-learning models to solve diverse challenges agri-stakeholders face while managing day-to-day operations. Cropin has 22 AI models that give you a head-start crop detection, yield estimation, irrigation scheduling, water stress detection, harvest date estimation, pest/disease prediction, nitrogen uptake, change detection, and plot score, among others.
Technological Revolution for the Future of Agriculture
“Cropin is at the focal point of its journey, where we see the global agriculture industry immensely benefit from its innovation. For instance, Cropin Cloud will enable the client partners with the power to achieve the unprecedented productivity in agriculture through specificity, speed, and agility. We began this journey by studying, learning, and structuring data generated by the complex global agri-ecosystem. Growing practices mapped to different agroclimatic zones for different crop varieties helped us build the world’s most extensive Crop Knowledge Graph,” said Krishna Kumar while elaborating on the future prospects.
A Knowledge Graph is a reusable, flexible data layer used for answering complex queries across data silos. These graphs create supreme connectedness with contextualized data, organized and represented in the form of graphs. Built to capture the constantly changing nature of knowledge, they easily accept new data, definitions, and requirements. Cropin’s Crop Knowledge Graph is crop-agnostic and geography-agnostic, so its benefits are immediately available to the entire spectrum of agriculture data needs. “This is the beginning of a new era of possibilities for technology-enabled solutions for real agriculture problems,” said Kumar.
“Over the years, we have analyzed how different crop varieties behave in different environments and climatic conditions when treated differently through varied practices. The edge in our solutions comes from the unparalleled experience and learnings gathered from 500+ crops and 10,000+ varieties grown in 92 countries managed via their solutions. And these numbers keep growing every day as Cropin continues to add and manage new crops, new geographies or solve new crop challenges faced by this industry,” said Kumar.
Cropin’s experience demonstrates that data science can enable the industry to understand risks better, maximize revenue, and optimize costs by making every farm asset traceable, predictable, and sustainable in a connected agriculture ecosystem.
From Top of the Agro World
Being founded in 2010, the company’s first milestone was the launch of SmartFarm (now Cropin Grow). According to Krishna Kumar, this solution addressed the industry pain point of building a standard operating procedure for managing every farm asset and enabling the Agri ecosystem to produce high-quality, traceable, nutritious, and sustainable food systems.
The second milestone in their journey was building the platform to be crop-agnostic as well as location agnostic so that anyone can deploy it in any country or continent and contextualize it to local crops, climate conditions to scale. “The biggest hurdle in this was localization (India has 30-40 different languages, for example). However, today our platform is crop and location agnostic,” said Kumar.
When scaling the product deployment in more than 50 countries, Cropin thought of building intelligence on top of the Agri data assets created over a period of time. This was the 3rd milestone where the company built proprietary AI/ML models when Cropin had generated trillions of datasets consisting of more than 350 crops and 5,000 varieties from 52 countries. They also built a small team intending to see what customers could learn from all the data.
The fourth feat is the launch of Cropin Cloud, which is “the world’s first intelligent agriculture cloud,” according to Kumar. Moreover, Cropin has partnered with over 250+ organizations globally to digitize over 16 million acres of farmland and enrich the lives of nearly 7 million farmers while building intelligence for over 500 crops and over 10,000 crop varieties in over 92 countries.