Hyderabad: Citrus production has increased from 17.3 lakh tonnes in 1970 to 140 lakh tonnes in 2019 at an average annual rate of 5.24%. Even though India ranks 3rd in terms of production after China and Brazil with 428 and 193 lakh tonnes respectively; it stands far behind in terms of productivity (8.8 t/ha) against 22-35 t/ha when compared to other nations like Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and USA. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are the top sweet orange producing states in India. The major challenges being increasing costs of production, decreasing life spans of trees, poor quality of fruits besides abnormal market fluctuations.
Samhitha Crop Care Clinics, a precision farming advisory firm based out at Hyderabad is helping citrus growers of Nalgonda district in Telangana with a team of highly qualified and experienced agri-professionals. These plant doctors are assisted by telemetries, drones, and customised Apps while monitoring the orchards remotely. The uniqueness of Samhitha is that the advisories are customized at individual tree level if not for the entire orchard. Their prime objective is increasing productivity by 30% while doubling the longevity of the orchards.
According to Dr. G. Syamasundar Reddy, CEO, Samhitha, who was former faculty of IIIT, Hyderabad and been Sr Scientist and Head of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (ICAR) “In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the crop yield of citrus plants is less than half of the global standards. Citrus Crop Farmers are forced to use fertilisers and herbicides, which increases crop yield momentarily, but eventually reduces the crop lifespan.”
“At Samhitha, we use the latest technology to generate insights about the land, water and the crop. The advisory is comprehensive and continuous, while the team is always at a phone call away from the farmer. Above all, Samhitha is generating hundreds of decent jobs for the rural youth in and around their own villages. This gives immense pleasure” said Jagan Chitiprolu, MD, Samhitha, and an alumnus from Harvard Business School.
Chief Technology Officer Mr Kalyan Enjamoori says “we are tracking individual trees to build both spatial and temporal data. The insights of data analysis and deep learning will eventually improve the performance of plant doctors and the field staff. We are gearing up for optimization and automation to the maximum extent possible with the help of Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning (AI&ML)”.
By using a mix of technology and connecting with farmers on the ground through agriculture experts, Samhitha is revolutionizing the way farming is done across the nation.