By Srinath Srinivasan
Mumbai-based GreenSat aims to address the four pillars of the farming sector—the farmer, the buyer, the banker and the insurer, via its technology platform. The platform processes and offers satellite data, including images, geo, meteorological and other important data useful for farmers. The startup has partnered with a host of observatories to procure accurate images and data for precision farming. “Once the farmer signs up on the platform, every 15 days we offer him detailed reports having satellite images of the farm, weather conditions, health of the soil, what to sow and how to address various problems in the area for better outcomes, for free,” says Deepak Yadav, founder, GreenSat Innovation Labs.
The platform also has features to simplify credit needs for the farms. “If the farmer presses the credit button, all of his details, including credit score, are sent to the lenders we have partnered with. In addition, we also connect the farmers to the sellers who are on our platforms,” adds Yadav. GreenSat has also done pilot testing to bring in recycled waters to the platform for irrigation purposes at a very less cost. “This is especially cost-effective in water starved areas. Our first focus is rural farmers. We plan to offer this service to the pharmaceutical industry which consumes a lot of water,” says Yadav. The reports also help financial institutions on the platform to maintain historical data and offer credits and services accordingly.
“Satellite images and associated data is the cheapest and accurate. Any other hardware to do aerial imaging becomes costly,” says Yadav. The platform uses Experian credit scores at the moment but is developing a 360-degree formula for giving credit scores to farmers.
“The traditional methods do not consider loan waivers that the farmers get. Even after a loan waiver, the credit score of the farmer does not reflect it for a long time. We will give a holistic view of the farmer’s background and will not make it look like a recommendation to lenders,” says Yadav. He adds that wilful defaulters are only a tiny percentage and most of the farmers have genuine reasons behind defaulting and that the credit report should reflect this exactly.
GreenSat is also into contract farming for leafy perishable crops so that the farmers do not get locked into a contract. “We lease unused land from farmers and manage fluctuations in price. The farmers are free to sell their produce anywhere,” says Yadav. For other crops, it procures from the farmers directly and supplies to the market. “In the last two months of the lockdown we sold 600-700 tonnes of produce in the Mumbai and Pune region via contract farming to a couple of food aggregators. We continue to expand this to a few other cities,” adds Yadav.
Currently, there are over 10,000 farmers on the platform. The company is also bootstrapped and remains profitable.