CultYvate, a Bengaluru-based Agri-tech startup is automating farming.
Key Highlights:
  • Agri-tech platform, CultureYvate, is run by Farm2Fork Technologies Pvt Ltd, founded by Mallesh T in 2016.
  • The startup collaborates with companies that supply irrigation tools in a village and develops smart irrigation systems.
  • CultYvate prioritises collecting information about the crop, climatic conditions and the soil before offering a solution. 

Agri-tech platform, CultureYvate, is run by Farm2Fork Technologies Pvt Ltd, founded by Mallesh T in 2016. The company develops smart irrigation systems that automate and simplify irrigation for farmers.

Mallesh T was raised in Karnataka’s Mandya district in an agrarian family. He sensed that the farmers in Mandya were in despair, despite the fact that Mandya is a paddy-growing district – one of India’s most profitable crops.

In an interview with a media-tech company, Mallesh told “The farmers in Mandya complained about poor irrigation despite having almost five flowing rivers. The district also holds a record for the highest rates of farmer suicides in the state. It was confusing as the nearby district of Kolar had a dearth of groundwater but was still flourishing by growing commercial crops,”. Then he realised that the problem was not the lack of water resources but the lack of proper irrigation techniques. The scope for automation in this situation is an idea that eventually resulted in the foundation of CultYvate. It is an agri-tech platform that aims to enhance agriculture productivity for marginal farmers. 

To irrigate crops efficiently, the startup implements various concepts, tools, and methods. The products are developed using IoT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence (AI), satellites, machine learning (ML) and various crop models.

The startup also develops smart fertigation systems – the injection of fertilizers, used for soil amendments, water amendments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system and greenhouse automation techniques, apart from smart irrigation systems. Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and various state governments work closely with the startup.

How does it work:
The startup collaborates with companies that supply irrigation tools in a village and develops smart irrigation systems based on information like crop variety, soil type, and other agro-climatic conditions.
Mallesh explains, “they invest around Rs 10,000 for developing a system that can automate irrigation for around five acres of land. The system is set up on an experimental basis for a season. The companies that collaborate with us pay for the experiment. Once farmers realize its benefits, they adopt and pay directly for the system,”.

The smart system supplies water to the farmlands in a timely manner without intervening with the farmer in the field. After every round of irrigation, a report on the water quantity, soil moisture and weather conditions to the farmer’s mobile phone is sent from the system. 

CultYvate prioritises collecting information about the crop, climatic conditions and the soil before offering a solution. This makes it unique from other competitors in the segment like EcoFlo India, BluRain and Galcon. 

Mallesh says, “Based on the availability of electricity, and labour, Indian farmers irrigate their lands. But if the water is not provided to the crops in the right quantity and at the right time, the crops will definitely be affected.”

Funding:
The startup recently raised Rs 4.5 crores in a pre-Series A round of funding from Sirius One Capital Fund, along with Sunicon, The Chennai Angels, LV Angel Fund, and Prodapt Technology Holdings. Additionally, it has received grants from the Government of Karnataka.

CultYvate could impact around 200-300 farmers, before raising the funds. With the help of the raised funds, it has enabled the startup to reach out to around 10,000 farmers in multiple states.

The startup has a 24-member team including advisors from premier institutes. Around 600 crore litres of water have been conserved by the team so far. In the last 24 months, it has impacted the lives of 1,250 farmers across five states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab. 

Future Plans:
It is estimated that the global irrigation automation market size to grow at an estimated CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 18.5 per cent from 2020 to reach a value of $6.7 billion by 2025.

In order to take advantage of this opportunity, CultureYvate plans to expand its satellite coverage to cover a wider area. In addition, the team is working with Google to create machine learning products, such as irrigation solutions for cotton and sugarcane.

 

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