Bengaluru startup uses satellite data to help farmers

Published: 16th August 2016 04:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th August 2016 04:30 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Crop loss due to harsh climate change is the bitter reality for many Indian farmers. A Bengaluru-based start-up ‘SatSure’ hopes to address the issue of ‘data poverty’ in the agricultural sector.

A private satellite data analytics company, SatSure is only eight months old and aims to build a 15-year archive of satellite images over the Indian subcontinent, taken at a frequency of eight days.

The images will be processed and analysed into information that could be used for decision making purposes by governments, insurance and re-insurance companies, banks, pesticide & seed companies, and commodity trading firms.

After working on a pilot project with the Andhra Pradesh government, SatSure is now in talks with representatives from the Karnataka government.

At present, the startup is building crop risk indices by combining the best practices of traditional satellite remote sensing, machine learning, and cloud computing.

The team has completed pilot studies in Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, done in collaboration with the government.

The study successfully showed the correlation between survey-based yield and predicted yield of paddy, thus validating its powerful proprietary algorithms.

Abhishek Raju, founder of SatSure and director of Dhruv Space Pvt Ltd, said, “Such methods can be used as a better parameter for crop yield assessment rather than precipitation indices derived from weather station data. It will be more cost-efficient than using drones due to its large area coverage. My ultimate aim is to work with the Karnataka government, this is my way of giving it back to my state. We are planning to meet agriculture minister Krishna Byregowda.”

Initially, the team had thought of a sponsored space-driven project.

Prateep Basu, analyst, Northern Sky Research who has been advising SatSure says, “There is so much data in space that we can make use of it to assess the health and yield of the crop and plan better.

“In India, insurance officers have to visit farms to verify crop loss. But very often, crop loss is assessed long after the incident and the farmer would be paid a minimal amount. But with data from satellites, one would no longer require to physically visit farms. This data can also be used for urban planning, identification of pest-infection in forest.”

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