1. Agriculture World

Can AI solve the historical food quality assessment problem in India?

Pritam Kashyap
Pritam Kashyap

India produces 275 million tonnes of food, being the largest milk and spices producer while it stands second in the production of tea and grains including wheat and rice. But the export of these products is not as promising as their production. 

India is the second-largest producer of tea, producing 1,339.70 million kgs while it stands fourth in terms of export after Kenya, China and Sri Lanka. 

A daunting 41 per cent of the milk samples surveyed by FSSAI was found to fall short of one or another quality parameter. The samples also had residues of antibiotics above the permissible limits. 

India produces 75 out of 109 varieties of spices listed by ISO but accounts for only half of the global trading in spices. 

India’s rice production is put at 115 million tonnes for the year 2019-20 but the export is forecasted to be as low as 10.4 million tonnes. 

The major reason for this disparity can be attributed to a lack of rapid technologies at various transactional points (intersection of buyer & seller) in the Agri value chains to make quick quality decisions. The value of six months of hard work of the farmers is estimated at five minutes of guesswork creating a gap in the fair pricing model. AgNext tech solutions ease those nerve-wracking moments for the farmers, enabling “incentivisation of farmers” to produce better quality and realise the better price. 

The agri-tech startup AgNext is working towards addressing this issue with its AI & Molecular science enabled full-stack tech platform, Qualix- a rapid food quality assessment. The solution can assess the quality of multiple commodities like Tea, spices, milk, grains, herbs and animal feed in just 30 seconds. 

Founded in 2016, AgNext was started with a vision to make use of technology in bringing rapid quality, food safety and traceability solutions in the agriculture business. It was incepted with a vision to increase transparency, procurement effectiveness and safety of food in agribusinesses & benefit various stakeholders along the way. 

Incubated at IIT Kharagpur, AgNext got its first seed funding from a-IDEA National Agriculture Research (Food and Agribusiness incubator and accelerator in Hyderabad, India) in 2017. In the following years, funding was received from Omnivore and Kalaari venture funds as well.  

AgNext was awarded as the best Agri-tech companies in Asia by Rabobank Sustainable Ag in 2019. They also received "Best AgriTech Startup of India" award by Minister of agriculture & farmer welfare of India Narendra Singh Tomar in Outlook Agriculture Conclave & Swaraj Awards 2020 at New Delhi. 

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