Published: 15th May 2018
This company will help farmers predict their yield and keep a track of their loans
SatSure is working with the government, insurance companies, and banks to forecast farm yield and help farmers
When SatSure took their invention, which, in a single sentence, can be described as ‘predicting farm output via satellite’ to the farmers of Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, they were quite surprised by their varied reactions. While some farmers retorted, “I can look at the sky and make accurate predictions, so I don’t need this,” others were so open to experimentation that they were willing to stick devices into their soil.
Lack of banking infrastructure, getting access to credit, organising the documents required to get said credit — these are some of the problems that Prateep Basu, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of SatSure immediately highlights when it comes to farmers procuring loans. And when the farmers, who do manage to secure loans, struggle to keep up with payments, they are burdened with a high default rate.
Looking up: Prateep Basu (extreme left) along with the co-founders of SatSure
This is where SatSure steps in. Satellite imagery and sensor technology (IoT and weather data), cloud computing and big data infrastructure, and machine learning and predictive analysis algorithms effortlessly come together to form the core function of SatSure. “The information gathered from these three areas allows us to enable timely interventions when it comes to banks, insurances companies and even the government,” explains Basu, adding that the inference from these areas provides crop yield estimates, crop yield risk and crop pricing risk.
Aside from the convergence of fields, the convergence of the core founders is also an interesting story. Basu, who is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, along with three others, felt that “space data can be used to not only create societal good, but also expand upon the vision of our space programme to be one that is second to none.”
SatSure’s technology solutions are helping commoditise space data to address the macro challenges in the agriculture sector with a high impact on enabling financial inclusion of farmers and food security for the nation
Prateep Basu, Co-founder, SatSure
But that thought quickly ended even before it really began. Basu went on to do his Master’s at the International Space University, Strasbourg. In 2015, the idea was dredged up once again and it quickly took centre stage in the lives of Prateep Basu, Abhishek Raju, Ishan Tomar and Vivek Kumar. From then on, they went on a rampage to talk to everyone — insurance companies, banks, bureaucrats, government, politicians, MPs — you name it, they ventured. And that’s when they met Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu, the unassuming MP from Srikakulam who lent his support. Then they brought in experts like Amardeep Sibia as their CEO, Samuel John became their COO and Rashmeet Singh Sukhmani became their Global Head of Products.
This is delivered to the stakeholders the way they want it — interactive dashboards, statistics, spreadsheets and more. “This is what we are doing in one district of one state, but we can replicate it anywhere,” Basu insists, adding that SatSure is working with both the Government of AP and the Central Government for the Crop Cutting Experiment (CCE), a tedious process used to analyse the threshold yield upon which insurance premiums and payouts are estimated. This experiment has to be done 1 crore times across India in a year, with each experiment costing around Rs 1,500.
SatSure is a thought leader in social technology innovation
They use satellite images to predict farm output
Data presented to stakeholders the way they like it
They work with the government to rationalise CCEs
Their purpose is to make farming less risky
“Imagine the farmer doesn’t get the claims for losing his crop on time because the government and the insurance companies are fighting over the data,” explains Basu. So, they have been invited by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare to help the government rationalise the number of CCEs.
SatSure is also working to get farmers’ credit history, which is more or less unavailable as most transactions happen in cash, by using satellite images from the past five years and their proprietary algorithms. It seems to us that they have already accomplished so much, yet they are just getting started.
To find out more, click on satsure.in