The global agriculture technology market size is valued at $ 20.30 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4 percent from 2024 to 2030. Today, majority of farmers have gradually started switching towards advanced agriculture technologies in order to achieve higher crop yields. However, it is also evident that farmers living in remote areas of the country cannot avail the right kind of mentorship due to unavailability of agricultural experts. This is where German start up Plantix comes into the picture. The company saw these challenges as an opportunity and started working closely with millions of Indian smallholder farmers, helping them to improve crop health as well as finding the right inputs to grow crops using advanced technology. Plantix is a game-changing app that revolutionises plant disease detection, empowering farmers to protect their crops like never before. CIO Insider, recently interacted with Simone Strey, Co-founder and CEO, Plantix in order to know more about the company and the impact it is making in the agriculture technology sector.
Could you give a brief account on Plantix’s journey connecting small scale farmers and agri-retailers in one ecosystem?
In 2015, we started with our farmers’ app Plantix. The idea behind the app was to empower small scale farmers with the help of AI, so that they can find out pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies their crops suffer from and
render them access to information in their local language. However, after some time, we discovered this information stopped being useful in situations when local dealers did not have the right product in their stock and therefore to solve this we integrated the Retailers into our ecosystem with our second app, Plantix Partner.
We try to understand the problem of every farmer in detail & offer customised solutions based on it
The apps introduced by Plantix have been downloaded by 60000 retailers in India and 25 million farmers worldwide. Today, Plantix app is available in 18 languages. We are a digital company that is all about connecting small-scale farmers and agri-retailers in a single ecosystem. Plantix is a free of cost app that gives farmers access to information, technology and farming tips. Retailers can digitise their offerings and receive farmers with prescriptions at hand through the Partner app. We use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and scientific research with a vision to provide the right solutions to farmers, promote sustainable practices and enhance farming productivity.
Tell us about your expertise in tailoring solutions that help farmers save their crops and increase their yields?
This is extremely rewarding. We received and are still receiving positive feedback from farmers, and this keeps us motivated and our commitment high. Many farmers do not have access to the right information when it comes to pest and disease identification, which is really a difficult task. We have tried to act differently from day one, put the farmers at the centre and made the app as convenient to use as possible. And by doing so, we won the trust of the farmers and informed them about best practices step by step. By simply scanning a plant’s leaves or stems,
farmers can now receive real time insights, allowing for timely intervention and targeted treatments.
How would you describe the experience you deliver for agri-retailers in acquiring farmers and improving the demand side of their business?
Our retailers are also very happy and satisfied with our services as we help them in dealing with the daunting task of diagnosing crop problems. We use AI and other algorithms to find out the diseases in crops. We also try to connect the farmers and retailers in a single eco-system, so that they can be in direct touch with each other and retailers can fulfil their demand and supply needs. That is how we enable a proactive decision making since we have real time data and that enables farmers to do better resource management, disease prediction and right planning.
Tell us how the team is built. How do you foster an innovative learning culture in the team to leverage AI and other latest technologies to build solutions that promote sustainability and solve challenges for farmers?
We are forging our own path towards sustainable agriculture with a team of over 250 professionals. We keep organising training sessions on a regular basis for our employees in order to keep them updated with the latest technologies. Also, we assign challenging tasks to our employees and help them in achieving it.
What is the future roadmap envisioned for Plantix? Where is it headed for the next five years?
India is a vast country and therefore we still have several farmers and retailers to reach. Our customers bestowed us with the title of plant doctor who can be reached out easily. Moving forward, we will keep trying to understand the difficulties faced by farmers in their daily life and what roadblocks they have to face while producing food for the country and accordingly introduce new solutions in the market. We are also planning to attract new customers by expanding our services and thus become cash-flow positive.