World Youth Skills Day: This GITAM student's AI-powered AgriTech solution is unique

Over the next five years, he see himself expanding his work in the AgriTech field and exploring other areas of innovation, particularly in healthcare and the environment
Genji Jairam | (Pic: GITAM University)
Genji Jairam | (Pic: GITAM University)

Genji Jairam (23) hails from a rural village in India where farming is not just an occupation, but a way of life. Growing up amidst the green fields and living a rustic life, he was always intrigued by the hardships his family and the entire farming community went through. It was this curiosity and an inherent inclination towards finding solutions that sparked his interest in innovation. He wanted to ease their burden, streamline their processes and make farming more profitable and sustainable.

A strong passion for technology and its transformative power led him to pursue his higher education at GITAM University, a reputed institution. He was particularly drawn to the intersection of agriculture and technology and wanted to use his skills to positively impact the farming community. 

As an innovator, the 23-year-old sees himself as a problem solver. A thinker who looks at issues from a new perspective, leveraging technology to improve lives, especially the lives of those in rural areas. "My rural upbringing, combined with my technical education, has enabled me to create solutions that have a tangible impact on farmers' lives," he says. 

On World Youth Skills Day, let's read about this youngster, his start-up and how he wants to use his skills to help the farming community.

Tell us about AI and how you got interested in it...
Artificial Intelligence (AI) piqued my interest when I realised its potential in solving complex real-world problems. I was particularly inspired by an incident where I observed my family and other farmers in my village struggle with water management. The daily routine of manually monitoring the water levels, walking a considerable distance each day across the fields, checking the well, managing the solar panel setup was quite laborious. That’s when I started exploring the possibilities of AI in automating these processes.

My initial years with AI were exciting and filled with innovative experiments. The encouragement and guidance from Prof Prasanthi were invaluable in the successful development of our first prototype, an AI-powered AgriTech system.

Our team, consisting of Prof R Prasanthi, B Manoj Kumar Reddy, P Praneeth, and Trinay Vamsi, came together with a shared vision to establish Farminno Tech. With unwavering determination, we aim to revolutionise the agricultural sector in India, addressing the intricate problems faced by farmers and empowering them through technology and industry insights.

We are grateful for GITAM's Venture Development Cell (VDC) team led by Director Devi Reddy S. Their guidance and assistance have been instrumental in ensuring a smooth registration process for our start-up. The VDC team's nurturing, mentorship and provision of resources have greatly shaped our entrepreneurial journey and helped us navigate the complexities of starting a private limited company.

Explain in detail about your AI-powered AgriTech system...
Our AI-powered AgriTech system, developed after countless hours of research and refinement, is aimed at addressing key challenges faced by farmers in India. It's a culmination of AI, Machine Learning (ML) and IoT technologies.

We have specifically designed it to combat issues such as bird and animal protection, insect detection, weather monitoring, soil analysis and automatic water management. The system integrates solar power, ensuring its functionality even in areas with inconsistent electricity supply. We faced a series of challenges during its development — technical complexities, cultural nuances, and financial constraints. However, with the constant support and mentorship and our relentless determination, we were able to overcome these hurdles and develop a functional prototype.

Any challenges you faced while developing it?
Some significant challenges we faced during the system's development included understanding the diverse agricultural practices across India, the technical expertise required to integrate different AI systems, and the financial implications of creating a cost-effective solution.

There was a significant knowledge gap that we had to bridge to make the system efficient. We carried out extensive research and field visits to understand these agricultural practices better. To resolve technical challenges, we relied on iterative prototyping and testing, and constant knowledge upgradation through various resources. 

What is the functionality and where can it be used?
The system's key functionalities are divided into three broad categories.

First, our system is equipped to tackle pest and bird infestations that cause significant crop loss. It uses AI algorithms to identify specific pests and birds that pose a threat and deploys measures to deter them, thus, preventing crop damage

Second, our system is capable of regulated irrigation and effective management of agricultural motors. It automates the entire process, thus, reducing the manual labor required and ensures optimal use of water resources. The system can monitor water levels in fields and control motors remotely, which significantly reduces the time farmers spend in daily water management.

Finally, the system is designed to improve soil health. It performs soil analysis by assessing pH, NPK, EC, soil moisture and temperature, thus, providing crucial data on soil health and suggesting appropriate micronutrients for its improvement. By recommending precise fertilizer requirements, the system prevents the overuse of chemicals, protecting the soil's health and fertility.

What is your aim with it in the future?
Our ultimate aim is to refine these prototypes into market-ready products and see them deployed across India. We want to empower farmers by providing them with technological solutions to their everyday challenges. We also plan to develop an app that can assist farmers in the proper mixing and application of pesticides and herbicides. We aim to address common issues such as wrong concentration usage that can damage crops and affect soil health. In the long run, we aim to source data directly from farmers, which will help us refine our solutions and develop a farmer-friendly product.

What do you want to grow up to be and why?
Over the next five years, I see myself expanding my work in the AgriTech field and exploring other areas of innovation, particularly in healthcare and the environment. My aim is to make significant strides in farm automation, transform our prototype into a market-ready product and bridge the gap in agricultural technology. I believe in the power of education and plan to work towards spreading awareness about farm automation.

I am deeply grateful for the guidance and support from Prof R Prasanthi, our project guide, and the encouragement from Prof J B Seventline, Head of Electrical, Electronics and Communication Engineering (EECE) Department, Dean of Engineering Prof Vijay Sekhar C, Senior Director of Research Prof Ravi Kishore, and GITAM Venture Development Center Director Devi Reddy S. 

Their wisdom and belief in our capabilities helped us overcome numerous challenges. My journey wouldn't be complete without my C-founder B Manoj Kumar Reddy and my teammates P Vamsi and P Praneth. Together, we dream of a technologically empowered agricultural sector in India.

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