The world is changing and so are the people. Humans are coming with something new in terms of technology and science every single day. We are living in a very amazing time for the human race where we can actually see the technological systems surrounding us evolving and getting better every day.
Big companies are putting millions of dollars into the R & D (Research and Development) department just so that we can replace our current systems with new ones with high efficiency that are managed by artificial intelligence.
With all of this going on, we get to see some brilliant pieces of devices and systems that no one ever thought we would have. One such example is the German company PEAT’s innovation to make farming intelligent with its data capture feature that helps farmers mitigate crop damage and maximize growth.
The best part is that the company is willing to bring the technology to Indian farmers. Farming is one of the most important occupations in India as the whole country depends on it. Besides being the most important occupation, it is also one of the hardest. Being a farmer is never really easy anywhere in India be it because of the pests or the bad monsoons.
The factors that negatively affect farming and the farmers in India are numerous. The German startup has set out to mitigate these factors and help the farmers with their smart intelligent farming systems.
Progressive Environmental and Agricultural Technologies (PEAT) is a German startup started in 2015. The idea of the company started originally from South America because four of the PEAT’s seven founders met during a German-Brazilian five-year research project in Amazonia. The main aim of PEAT is to save farming in India.
PEAT has, over the last couple of years, been working with 30,000 Indian farmers. Agriculture today is a $500 billion opportunity. There are more than 30 Indian startups that are using technology to solve problems in the industry. VDrone, Kisan Network, and Crofarm are some of the startups that use drones, supply chain technologies, and farm aggregation (farm-to-fork connect) to change farming into a productive enterprise.
The journey of PEAT in India started through the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). It has its global headquarters in Hyderabad. ICRISAT, which works on improving their mandate crops (mainly pulses) around the world, started work on digital agriculture. This year, PEAT, along with ICRISAT, has rolled out Plantix, a free app for farmers in South India. The app adapts to important crops in the region and offers even in local languages.
PEAT and its technology
PEAT Technology also offers APIs to other phone applications, farm management systems, and other internet systems with cameras. Other companies in agriculture can use PEAT’s platform to support farmers. Alexander, one of the founders of PEAT said in an interview, “We offered this to major players in the Indian agriculture business and started to create collaborations all over India”. The German embassy also helped PEAT to connect with those Indian companies that are interested in solutions for sustainable agriculture.
So, the system is basically a self-learning algorithm (Deep Neural Network) to distinguish between different patterns that are left by plant diseases, pest, or nutrient deficiencies. Then these deep neural networks like an expert, prepare learning material for the machine in which you show how the different and characteristic pattern of each plant disease looks like.
If you have enough material the machine will start to understand how to identify a specific disease just by showing it a picture. PEAT’s phone application identifies plant damages just by taking a picture. Thus it aids farmers to save their crop without losing much time.
This application also allows for the collection of data on plant diseases and pests. Since every picture comes to PEAT’s servers tagged with a location and a timestamp; it can create real-time monitoring and forecasting systems for any crop at any place. Kishore Biyani, Chairman of Future Group, said, “Data is paramount in alleviating farmer woes. Any data that can improve the lives of farmers also adds value to the consumer in terms of great produce. The entire chain benefits in the process.”
The small farmers in India struggle a lot because of bad yield. But technology like PEAT is certainly the need of the hour. This amazing innovation is certainly going to change the whole image of farming in India.