Administrator | July 22, 2016

Menterra investee spotlight: NubeSol

Menterra and Artha Initiative have invested in NubeSol, a Bangalore-based agribusiness enterprise which provides precision farming services to sugar companies.
Founder Suraj Dixit talks more about the enterprise and the impact it aims to create:

What does your company do?
NubeSol specialises in solutions based on data analytics and remote sensing technologies aimed at transforming the ecosystem of the agriculture industry. It offers services for forecasting crop acreages and yields through precision monitoring; increasing productivity and crop yield through proactive interventions; and maximizing the profitability at reduced operational cost. This is done through:

Remote Sensing Reports (RST) – Accurate crop acreages (currently, sugarcane) and yield forecasting services. Enables quick & intelligent survey at reduced cost and enables you to estimate demand and supply gaps all the time.

Crop Information Management System (CIMS) – Big data crop analytics platform, enabling information capture and analysis accessible anytime and anywhere. It extends itself by catering to many different verticals.

Krishi Suchak Android App (KSA) – Enables individual growers to get a monthly yield map of their plot(s) on mobile devices. These maps highlight yield threats and forecasts harvest yield potential. For expert advice it connects the grower to an agronomist via share of photos/ multimedia files, real time chat.

Digital Soil Card (DSC) – Enables companies, co-operatives and self-help groups to set up mini soil testing laboratories to assess macro and micro nutrients, and help farmers by collecting, testing, analyzing and recommending the required inputs appropriately by using CIMS technology. Helps with creating large soil fertility maps generation and issuing a digital soil card to farmers, to ensure that all the people involved with the farm extension activities, especially dealing with fertilizers, would be able to access the information to advice the farmer for higher productivity, better choice of crop etc.

Efficient Logistics Platform (ELP) – Tracks every vehicle in the fleet to allow dynamic harvest planning and re-planning alongside saving Harvest and Transport costs significantly

How did it come about?
As a farmer, I experienced inefficiencies in production firsthand, which were primarily knowledge deficiencies in the utilisation of fertilizer and different inputs. This led to poor crop care and resulted in yield losses. Apart from such problems in production, my profits further slumped due to inefficient market linkages and market intelligence. Hence we were looking for the technology to bring in transparency, touch upon all the stakeholders and ultimately help farmers grow more and get the right value.

Why are you excited about this space?
We are moving into an age of data-driven Innovations in agriculture and we are excited about our technology providing a platform for the same in order to create significant impact for the individual farmers as well as the Industry.

What is innovative about your service?
The crop Information Management service we provide is a crop analytics platform which assimilates data from different sources using satellite-based remote sensing technology as the core pivot for large scale data acquisition. This data is then processed through our different proprietary algorithms to generate the information appropriate to different stakeholders.
For instance, a farmer would gain knowledge about his plot level, yield threats and yield potential. Farm extension workers or agencies can access the same data to help farmers improve their yield. Banks and Insurance companies can use the data to better assess risk and agro-processing units can better understand their supply constraints and plan their production and logistics.
NubeSol encompasses the entire journey of data to provide information to all stakeholders in the agricultural industry.

What is the impact you want to have?
We would like to see productive and happy farmers, who are empowered with data to increase productivity while reducing inputs.

What successes and challenges have you seen till now and what is next?
We have spent close to three years on research and ensuring the technology is reliable and can be worked with. Now we are working with specific industry segments to customize and deliver the value. We observed in our rural segment that the sugar Industry in India is of great significance and is also a well-organised sector, so, we are focusing on it to generate maximum impact.
We will work with other Industry verticals such as Insurance and Banks to keep us aligned with national level initiatives.
One of the greatest challenges is that the sector has low appetite for experimenting and innovation, and there are very few leaders in the segment. Establishing and maintaining connections with the right people is the Key.
Another daunting challenge is trying to introduce new methods in the face of ground conventional wisdom is daunting!

What keeps you motivated?
The idea of making positive impact to the life of a farmer and gaining recognition from him is rewarding and motivating.

How do you think Menterra will help?
Menterra and Artha Initiative have supported us with initial capital support, their knowledge base in the field of agriculture, connections to domain and industry experts, giving us perspectives to our thought process and help with scaling up process.