Big Idea

Shrimp farmer finds ‘MOJO’

Aquaconnect has an app that could change the way aquaculture is done in India, and investors have taken the bait

RA Chandroo

Arul Kumar became the first aqua farmer in his family four years ago when he bought a six-acre land in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, to build a pond at a friend’s suggestion. The 38-year old thought that he is only a few shrimps and 120 days away from a flourishing business. But shrimps aren’t as pleasant to farm, as they are to eat. 

For the next two and a half years, Kumar’s pond seemed no less than an underwater shrimp lab; with every culture cycle, he struggled with how much shrimp feed to use or how to maintain the water quality. This is until he registered himself with FarmMOJO. The app acted as the old dadaji with knowledge gathered from good ol’ days, and mentored Kumar on optimising the feed. Next cycle, Kumar’s margin increased by almost 20%. 

And that is exactly the role that this farm advisor app plays in the lives of these shrimp farmers —an AI-enabled dadaji who teaches them all the tips and tricks of the trade. “We look to provide assistance on three grounds: good water quality management, feed utilisation and diagnosis of the animal’s health,” says Rajamanohar Somasundaram (fondly known as Raj), founder and CEO of Aquaconnect — the company that launched FarmMOJO. 

Sailing ahead

The idea of the app came to the founder in “a moment of serendipity”, as described by Raj. On a train journey to his hometown Chidambaram, the serial entrepreneur from IIT got talking with a local shrimp farmer and realised that the sector is severely lacking in technological advancement. “Farms in Norway and Scotland have deployed devices such as lice-shooting robots to protect their salmon, while the highest form of technology at the disposal of Indian aqua farmers is the timed feeding system that goes back to the 80s,” says Raj.

Launched in 2017, FarmMOJO is a huge leap from that. Its proprietary SaaS (or software as a service) tools and AI guides a breeder on how to increase revenue, minimise costs

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