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INTERVIEW

“Assured incomes, zero hunger, food security and improved nutrition”
Monday, 16 May, 2022, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Weather Risk Management Services (WRMS) is a pioneer in smart and sustainable farming in India. It is a leader in the agriculture and dairy risk management industry. Under its Comprehensive Agricultural Risk Management Solution, WRMS has become a global pioneer in Income Guaranteed Smart & Sustainable Farming Solutions. Dr Ashish Agrawal, co-founder & Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Weather Risk Management Services, in an email interaction with F&B News spoke about the company's future roadmap.

Describe your company, target segment, and its goal?
Weather Risk Management Services (WRMS) is a pioneer in smart and sustainable farming in India. It is a leader in the agriculture and dairy risk management industry. Under its Comprehensive Agricultural Risk Management Solution, WRMS has become a global pioneer in Income Guaranteed Smart & Sustainable Farming Solutions. It was founded by Lt. Sonu Agarwal, Anuj Kumbhat and Ashish Agarwal as an endeavor to empower farmers in overcoming the most daunting agrarian challenges. WRMS leverages data, technology and financial innovation to help farmers enhance productivity, gain a secure income, and practice sustainable farming. From designing weather risk management services to developing the world’s first income guaranteed smart & sustainable farms, WRMS is home to numerous national and international firsts.
WRMS is on a mission to revolutionise the farming sector by supporting farmers to adopt the world of latest technology in the agri space without worrying about the risks involved as the company offers them 360 degree income protection.

Ingen Technologies Private Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of WRMS, manufactures, supplies, installs and operates Automatic Weather Stations (AWS), Automatic Rain Gauge Systems (ARG) and Automatic Water Level Recorders through which we have been helping millions of farmers. WRMS is a leading manufacturer of meteorological and hydrological instruments in India such as IoT, drones etc.  With its team of 500+ multi-disciplinary experts across Agricultural Science, Data Science, Meteorology, Actuarial Science and Information Technology, the company is always working upon breakthroughs that can make the agriculture and dairy sector more robust.

What kind of solutions do you provide to your clientele?
WRMS manufactures, supplies and installs agriculture-related IoT devices for government and private sectors. It also works towards making the agriculture data accessible as a service for the concerned clients in the industry. The IoT devices provided by us for the agriculture and dairy industry’s supply chain logistic solutions also add up to the major revenue stream for the company. We design large-scale crop insurance programs as a part of agriculture insurance and provide modelling solutions to companies. We use Image Processing, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to provide Agri Tech services to companies which include predictive analysis for pests, diseases, etc. We enroll farmers on the SecuFarm application and charges them a fee to offer them farm-level customised advisory services to offer them an assured income. WRMS is working progressively towards its mission to promote sustainable farming.

What do you think are the challenges the Indian farm sector is witnessing presently?
While Indian agriculture has performed quite impressively in the last two decades in terms of record production, diversification towards high value horticulture, livestock and marine products and doubling its share in global trade in agriculture, the sector is presently saddled with issues, especially related to smallholder farmers. Smallholder farmers still face a variety of challenges that make their productivity and income unstable and unpredictable. Despite the multitude tech advancement in the sector, smallholder farmers do not seem to prosper. They remain unable to take full advantage of the tech solutions provided to them, and as a result, these solutions fall short of their envisioned impacts and outcomes.
Thus, to deal with agrarian challenges faced by smallholders. we have designed and developed SecuFarm - the world’s first smart & sustainable farming solution. SecuFarm bundles the most advanced rule engine based crop advisory backed by technology for smallholder farmers to assure them farm-level yield assurance.

How do you see technological advancements made in the Indian farm sector?
Digitisation and technology disruptions have picked up the pace over the last 2 decades, necessitated by the pandemic and businesses having to find new ways of doing business amalgamated with technology modules. Quite honestly, agriculture is no different from many of the other sectors. There is quite a lot of tech adoption in the sector, especially in the last one decade, particularly as it pertains to how you farm better and smarter. So there’s adoption of drone technologies, Internet of Things and so forth. Adoption of blockchain in particular, because it’s got so many use cases, is definitely going to change the face of the sector. We’re seeing it being adopted in smart contracting, which is really effective because it facilitates easy exchange of data between players in the industry; it creates more visibility to market participants, thus creating overall efficiency in the system.

In the near future we can expect a slew of technological advancements in the agricultural industry. Through such advancements, smallholders will have assured incomes, zero hunger, food security and improved nutrition backed with sustainable agriculture as mentioned in Sustainable development goal 2.

What is SecuLock and what is its USP?
SecuLock, launched by Ingen Technologies, a fully owned subsidiary of WRMS, is a state-of-the-art indigenously manufactured smart e-lock developed for live monitoring and prevention of theft & pilferage, especially in milk tankers.  Comes with a Smart-E Lock system that includes an electronic door-locking device, central server, mobile application, and control devices. The pre-installed tracking device captures and transmits location data to a central server for en-route theft and pilferage prevention and monitoring. And the memory stores location data and locking/unlocking data. SecuLock is a revolutionary product that can also be leveraged by other industries like cargo, courier, and companies handling transport of bulk goods from one point to another with high chances of on-road theft and adulteration.

How adulteration and pilferage of the dairy product can be prevented through SecuLock?
SecuLock and all its components are not physically accessible and thus, can’t be tampered with. There are also light sensors installed on the device to detect if the lock was activated during the dispatch of the vehicle. The device can only be operated through OTP enabled login, thus, only a designated officer can access the lock. Also, our 24/7 call center  services provide assistance in ensuring that all the  important alerts are swiftly acted upon and real-time assimilation and dissemination of data is ensured.  The working process of SecuLock is so advanced that there is no scope of adulteration or pilferage. The control room assigns vehicles and managers / users to the plant. These managers / users log in through their loginID in the app using OTP and send an unlock command for loading / unloading of materials in vehicles through the app. Hence, the state-of-the-art SecuLock eliminated the problem of adulteration and pilferage of the dairy products.

How is your product different from the products available in the market? Explain.
The main differentiation is that SecuLock can be leveraged not only by the dairy industry but other industries like cargo, courier, and companies handling transport of bulk goods from one point to another with high chances of on road theft and adulteration. While the other similar products available in the market are limited to the dairy industry only and don't have the potential to cater to other sectors, SecuLock is a one-stop solution to manage theft and pilferage that amounts to a huge loss every year due to low quality of potential preventive measures or devices.
 
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