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How This Agritech Startup in Bengaluru is Automating Farming

CultYvate also develops smart fertigation systems, which involve injecting fertilizers, soil amendments, water amendments, and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system, as well as greenhouse automation techniques. It collaborates closely with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and state governments.

Shivam Dwivedi
Digital Agriculture
Digital Agriculture

Mallesh T grew up in an agrarian family in the Mandya district of Karnataka. Despite the fact that Mandya was a paddy-growing district – one of India's most profitable crops – he could sense the farmers' despair.

"Despite having nearly five rivers flowing through it, including the Kaveri, farmers in Mandya complained about poor irrigation. The district also has the state's highest rate of farmer suicides. This was perplexing because the nearby district of Kolar, despite a lack of groundwater, thrived by growing commercial crops," said Mallesh.

According to Mallesh, the issue was not a lack of water resources, but rather a lack of proper irrigation techniques. In this situation, he saw the potential for automation, which led to the founding of CultYvate, an Agritech platform that aims to improve agriculture productivity for marginal farmers.

CultYvate was founded in 2016 by Farm2Fork Technologies Pvt Ltd. The company uses a variety of concepts, tools, and methods to efficiently irrigate crops. To develop the products, it uses IoT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence (AI), satellites, machine learning (ML), and various crop models.

CultYvate also develops smart fertigation systems, which involve injecting fertilizers, soil amendments, water amendments, and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system, as well as greenhouse automation techniques. It collaborates closely with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and state governments.

How Does it Work

CultYvate works with irrigation tool suppliers in a village to develop smart irrigation systems based on information like crop variety, soil type, and other agro-climatic factors.

"We put in about Rs 10,000 to develop a system that can automate irrigation for about five acres of land." For one season, the system will be set up as an experiment. The experiment is funded by the companies that work with us. Farmers adopt the system and pay for it directly once they see the benefits," Mallesh explains.

The smart system provides timely water to the farmlands without requiring the farmer to enter the field. After each round of irrigation, the system sends a report to the farmer's phone with information on water quantity, soil moisture, and weather conditions.

"Indian farmers irrigate their lands based on the availability of electricity, labour, and gut feelings," Mallesh informed. However, if the right amount of water is not provided to the crops at the right time, the crops will undoubtedly suffer."

CultYvate recently raised Rs 4.5 crores in a pre-Series A round of funding led by Sirius One Capital Fund, with Sunicon, The Chennai Angels, LV Angel Fund, and Prodapt Technology Holding also participating. It has also received funding from the Karnataka government.

CultYvate, which has a 24-person team that includes advisors from prestigious universities, claims to have saved 600 million litres of water. It has impacted the lives of 1,250 farmers in five states: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Punjab in the last 24 months. The team is also collaborating with Google on machine learning products, particularly irrigation systems for sugarcane and cotton.

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