It all started when the research initiative led by Brajeshwar Oinam picked one of the biggest problems faced by farmers – their inability to access favorable credits at the right time.
At the early start, we presented our ideas and approach at the Agri-Tech Seminar, New Delhi (Jan 20, 2020). Around that time, we also explored on means and ways to work closely with the farmers in Uttar Pradesh.
We also went all the way to the most remote eastern region of India, Manipur, to foster a Japan-India agriculture initiative. Brajeshwar Oinam and Satoshi Nagata presented and talked with some of the prominent farmer groups, decision-makers.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic hit India, around March, we initiated a partnership with RangDe to be part of their farmers interest-free loan program. In total, we have so far experimented with microfinance loans to over 200 farmers. To help tide the Pandemic uncertainties, we later decided not to ask for any interest on the loans.
Unfortunately, our team’s immobility and inability to meet regularly with farmers pushed us to expedite our technology offerings and services. We developed and prototyped a Satellite Farm Watch tool for large-scale farmers to monitor, track, analyze and report on their farmland productivity via NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), biomass mapping, monitor crop health, water management, and fertilizer application optimization, etc.
Our efforts attracted the attention of some of the State Governments whom we have talked about earlier. We are experimenting with Satellite Imagery to help the government bodies track farmlands for crop-insurance, farmland utilization, etc. At the time of writing this article, our works are in progress with the states of Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.
We will be focusing on satellite imagery, continue to experiment with hyperspectral imaging, and execute on-ground testing techniques to build meaningful tools that augment farming.