An Indian farmer will soon just need to take a picture with his smartphone to receive a few instants later a reliable quality analysis of the seed or grain in his hand. After four years of research, the Indian agri technology company SLCM wants to launch the mobile application by the end of the year. The Technical Assistance Facility of Incofin agRIF fund (agTAF) and the Smallholder Safety Net Upscaling Programme (SSNUP) free up more than EUR 125,000 to support SLCM with the development and roll-out of the application.
Sohan Lal Commodity Management (SLCM), one of Incofin’s partner organisations in India, offers technology-driven warehousing services such as scientific storage for agriculture commodities, fumigation, testing and certification in India and Myanmar. This is the first time that an Indian entity in the warehousing sector gets technical assistance support of this size. SLCM was selected for the grant from among a host of other contenders after a rigorous selection process. SSNUP points at the innovativeness of the initiative as the main reason to free a budget for SLCM: “The use of artificial intelligence technology to disrupt the warehouse market by correcting information asymmetries and reducing transaction costs will benefit not only smallholders households, but the overall value chain, thus, improving the ecosystem.”
A promising app
The app will enable the trader or farmer to check the quality of crop seeds on a smartphone or tablet. The results would be 90% as accurate as a lab test. The app can be used for food grains and pulses like wheat, rice, chana (chickpeas), guar (cluster beans), moong and tur (pigeon peas). It will take the user only to take a picture of the seed and the app provides just some seconds later a quality report, based on parameters like height, length, grid, colour and pattern. The app, the result of four years of intensive research by SLCM’s in-house experts, is planned to be rolled out by the end of 2021.
At a time when the world’s second-most populous nation has targeted to double its farm income over the next couple of years, the development and use of the app could generate momentum for the adoption of digital technology throughout the Indian farming ecosystem.
Sandeep Sabharwal, CEO of SLCM commented: “This grant is an endorsement of our sustained efforts to digitalise processes for the ease of our stakeholders and customers, and our commitment to modernise India’s post-harvest agricultural value chain with cutting-edge technologies.”
agTAF, the Technical Assistance Facility of agRIF fund
agTAF was launched in 2018 to foster the financial inclusion of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs through the provision of tailored capacity building support to selected investees of the Fund. agTAF is a EUR 2 million facility jointly financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), under the investment facility established pursuant to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, concluded on June 23, 2000, between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Community and its Member States as amended from time to time, the Société de Promotion et de Participation pour la Coopération Economique S.A. (PROPARCO), the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) and the agRIF fund.
About Smallholder Safety Net Upscaling Programme (SSNUP)
The Smallholder Safety Net Upscaling Programme (SSNUP) is a 10-year programme which aims to strengthen the safety nets of 10 million smallholder households in Africa, Latin America and Asia through technical assistance and investment in agricultural value chains, resulting in an improved well-being of 50 million low-income people. Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Luxembourg Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, the SSNUP works as a facility to co-finance the technical assistance projects of impact investors active in the field. ADA ensures the coordination as well as the knowledge management component of the whole programme. For more info visit: www.ssnup.org.