Techno Farming: Mahindra Launches ‘Farming As A Service’ In Karnataka, To Offer Services Like Equipment Rental, Precision Farming

by Swarajya Staff - Feb 25, 2021 09:31 AM
Techno Farming: Mahindra Launches ‘Farming As A Service’ In Karnataka, To Offer Services Like Equipment Rental, Precision FarmingMahindra machine for field trial in Thalavady and Chamaraj Nagar by farmer Kannaiyan Subramaniam (Source: @SuKannaiyan/Twitter)

Mahindra & Mahindra Limited’s Farm Equipment division has launched its ‘Farming as a Service’ (FaaS) business in Karnataka by opening Krish-e centres that offer agronomy advisory, access to advanced farm equipment rentals, precision farming solutions and digitisation enablement.

The centres were opened in Jamkhandi, Mysuru, Vijayapura, Bidar and Kalaburgi.

In a statement, the company said, “Krish-e aims to increase farmers income through digitally enabled services, across the complete crop cycle. These include agronomy advisory, access to advanced farm equipment rentals and new-age precision farming solutions, all focused on bringing down overall farming costs and improving crop output and consequently the farmer’s income.”

“Although investments and technological innovations in agriculture have improved output levels, productivity and farm incomes have a great scope for further improvement,” said Hemant Sikka, president, Farm Equipment Sector, M&M Limited.

M&M is leveraging its investments in entities such as Resson – a Canadian predictive analytics company, Gamaya – a Swiss hyperspectral image analytics company and Carnot – an Indian AI-enabled Agri IoT company to develop and offer farm solutions.

Krish-e Precision Farming solutions use a variety of sensors and cameras on the farm, on drones, on satellites and on farm equipment to collect soil, crop and machine data.

AI algorithms transform this data into user friendly and insight rich field maps, enabling farmers and agronomists to run variable rate farming operations, using intelligent machines. Such operations are already helping potato, grape and sugarcane farmers reduce their costs of cultivation and improve their yields.

Krish-e has launched three apps to deliver advisory and rental services in a differentiated and farmer focused manner. Advisory services are crop specific and farm specific.

They include a customised and dynamic crop calendar and real-time diagnosis and resolution of pest and diseases, the release said.

The rental app leverages an AI-powered IoT kit that tracks equipment and work performed. Targeted at rental entrepreneurs with a fleet of equipment, the kit is designed to be Plug and Play, intuitive to use and extremely affordable. Already used by almost 2,000 rental entrepreneurs, the kit increases the efficiency and profitability of rental operations.

The company already operates Such centres are in many states, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, MP and UP.

According to a report by management consulting firm Bain Consulting, FaaS-based start-ups have gained popularity with increase funding from venture capital (VC) or private-equity (PE) firms.

The majority of the investments are in the start-ups that offer farm management solutions that are primarily influenced by developed markets with high mechanisation. Many start-ups are in the digital or technology space, which is already attracting investments from tech giants — even those that lack an agricultural background.

The central and state governments have launched initiatives to address challenges and promote innovation, the report adds.

The government is actively pushing FaaS-based services through customer hiring centres (CHCs) and soil testing. The government’s focus on increasing institutional credit to farmers, improving infrastructure (such as investment in cold storage areas) and promoting digital transactions will also expand FaaS-based solutions.

According to the report, FaaS will not only bring economic benefits but will also have a vast social impact on the rural agrarian economy in which small and marginal farmers are the primary beneficiaries.

FaaS will push much-needed process and product innovations in Indian agriculture, including multipurpose agricultural equipment, tools for real-time data capturing and analysis, aggregation of farmland and farm produce, and financial technology for farmers.

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