On a gloomy Saturday morning, Bhagyamma appears cheerful as she looks at her sprawling green farm in Anekal taluk on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Her happiness also stems from the fact that her daughter is getting married this year. “This has been possible only because of a good harvest. Otherwise, where will I get the money from?” asks the 57-year-old. Until last year, she couldn’t even think of getting her daughter married as there were times when they found it difficult to afford even two square meals a day. It’s been eight years since Bhagyamma’s husband abandoned her, but instead of wallowing in self-pity she chose to work on her two-acre farm along with her daughter.
Her problem though was how to predict the yield which often failed her miserably. But that’s no longer the case now. “We are used to vagaries of monsoon and the risks involved in farming. What we are not used to is this kind of technology that helps us know our farms much better,” chuckles Bhagyamma as she flashes her smartphone. She is one among the thousands of contract farmers working for food companies to have benefited from data-driven farming using an app on her phone. “Farming methods are not taught to you, you learn the ropes while working on the farm like I did ever since I was a small girl. But there are quite a few concepts which I have learnt recently that has proved to be really beneficial,” explains Bhagyamma, a contract farmer for the past two years.
The app that Bhagyamma is referring to is the data-driven farming solution built by Bengaluru-based CropIn Technologies. While the app is primarily targeted at agro-based companies to monitor their fields, the ultimate beneficiaries are farmers who are associated with these companies as they can fetch improved realisation for their produce through better farm practices.
Large companies such as PepsiCo and McCain have contract farms that are spread across thousands of acres and, as a result, find it difficult to keep a track of crops grown on each plot. Farm reporting is a manual process as it involves maintaining records, information about pests, germinat