Robotic solution for cotton ryot woes
From sowing to weeding, fertilisation, pesticide spraying, and harvesting, CultivOx promises to reduce manual labour dependency and 81.45 per cent commercial and 76.06 per cent traditional margins.
HYDERABAD: As per official 2021 data, Telangana ranks third in the country when it comes to cotton cultivation, with the crop being cultivated on 18.78 lakh hectares of land. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) noted that during the last decade, the agriculture sector in India has experienced a steep dip in the availability of labour despite the prominent part the sector plays in the Indian economy.
According to the Institute, Indian farmers are struggling with having to pay higher wages to labourers still engaged in the sector. When a group of four students from the Institute of Aeronautical Engineering in Hyderabad met cotton farmers in the Mahabubabad and Medak districts, they realised that cotton cultivation is also plagued by these factors.
Their on-ground experience became the guide for their innovation, CultivOx by Agrodroid, rover robot-based services designed to automate and simplify cotton farming activities from sowing to harvesting.
G Naveen, one of the students behind the robot, says, “We found that labour shortage is the biggest issue faced by the farmers. This makes the completion of tasks such as weeding difficult. A cotton farmer in Mahabubabad told us that he has to pay Rs 250-350 for one labourer for six hours. This eats into their profit margins.”
From sowing to weeding, fertilisation, pesticide spraying, and harvesting, CultivOx promises to reduce manual labour dependency and 81.45 per cent commercial and 76.06 per cent traditional margins. The rover robot also employs completely solar-powered and CO2-neutral technology. The proposed timeline of CultivOx aligns with the timeline of cotton cultivation, ensuring that they collect crucial data at different stages of plant growth.
The collected data will be used to fine-tune their prototype, which is expected to be ready for field testing in December of 2023. In 2024, Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) will be launched. The final product which has been recognised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) of the Government of India, complete with certifications, is slated for launch in July of 2025.
Apart from G Naveen, the team comprises of Vuppu Mahesh, K Jeshwanth Reddy and Md. Adhnan. Despite not hailing from business backgrounds, what made them choose entrepreneurship as a career? Mahesh says, “Rather than doing a 9-5 job for 20 years, we want to invest our time into something that will generate employment for the people and revenue for the country.”