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Precision Farming Is An Interplay Between Demand & Supply: Vivek Rajkumar, Founder Aibono

Vivek Rajkumar an IIT Madras Graduate who founded Aibono shares his approach with BW Businessworld about the trending Agritech trade in India.

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Aibono is India’s first AI-powered fresh food aggregator it is pioneering as a Seed-to-Plate platform and is disrupting the massive fruits and vegetable category. Vivek Rajkumar an IIT Madras Graduate who founded Aibono shares his approach with Prabodh Krishna of BW Businessworld about the trending Agritech trade in India.

The input side of farming poses a real challenge to the farming community, do you agree with it?
Yes, Indeed it is a challenge, & Aibono's Agronomical services precisely solve at the input stages.

How could precision farming make its way to the last-mile farming community?
Precision or let's say predictive farming is an interplay between Demand & Supply. Modelling demand and aggregating supply efforts via predictive sync are super imperative for fulfilling efficiently across the value chain (Right From First Mile, Middle Mile to all the way to the Last Mile, Seed To Plate™, and therefore is the category.  

AI is no doubt growing with CAGR competitive to the best of the trades in the global market, how difficult it is to connect to your target markets? 
AI efficiencies rely deeply on data, data needs to be extremely relevant and rich. At Aibono, we believe our business model gives an advantage to us to have high-frequency touch-points at both ends of the Seed To Plate™ continuum. At the community side we record close to 60-80 touch points per batch per farmer & high repeats from retail, & hence the number of data points we collect from both Supply & Demand gives technology machinery advantage of prediction with high accuracy.

The number of operators/ start-ups using AI in agriculture are doing great in market connectivity, why has your group has focussed on pre-harvest which requires more ground- level efforts and possibly less returns?
The motto of the organization is to be a category creator not about following whatever current agri-models exist, the community is central core to Aibono, meaning and "Farmers First". Our problem solving & business solutions are cantered for farmers good. Aggregation at the farmland gives us an advantage on focussing on healthy yield through our agronomic services, a healthy yield is when we believe trust and loyalty are built with the community. Hence focussing on pre-harvest is a business imperative for Aibono.

Global groups are also coming to India with better weather prediction models, how helpful is it for you in trade?
As a startup, it is important to be abreast of industry know-how, learning from industry is as critical as building our own tech suite and predictive solutions, however, aside from weather prediction there are multiple other variables that are critical to Aibono in order to achieve sustainable yield.

Do you really find that better yields are the guarantee of better returns?
Farmers on our platform witness a yield improvement of 1.5x to 2x with some power farmers witnessing 2.5x yield. This is in comparison to standard agronomy practices otherwise the farmers involved with. Farmers on our platform also witness an income realization of 1.3 to 2x with the ability to generate an annualized income per acre of Rs. 5 lakh 

So my next question is straight forward, wastage of horticulture crops and bottlenecks in logistics are also serious threats? Any plans to enter in the same?
Aibono measures wastage at each stage of the continuum, right from nursery to the farmland, farmland to harvest, harvest to entire logistics cycle including First Mile, Middle Mile to the Last Mile. Wastage according to us have two consequences first is Financial Loss and second is Increasing Carbon Footprint. Each of our team across the value chain carries a critical performance KRA on Wastage.

We are also currently in the middle of a partnering agreement with an NGO who would take care of any last-mile wastages, sustainability is core to our practices, moving forward from our community we would be building sustainable agriculture solutions.

Where do you find AI-driven precision agriculture, say five years from now? Both in terms of trade practice and revenues? 
AI almost is the only possible solution to reduce the distance between growers and consumers. Five years from now, agri-automation which is just not AI would enable sustainable solutions for all stake owners. Trade practices and therefore revenues what we believe would undergo a massive change, change for good. We already experience a few changes in trade practices which is in turn producing an impact on farmers.

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