India is primarily an agrarian economy and a large part of its population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. With approximately over 15 crore registered farmers, the agricultural sector accounts for over 18 percent of the GDP of the country. Operating at such a scale, the sector is still grappling with inefficiencies in the form of lack of awareness/information, lack of technological advancements, muted earnings and more.
DeHaat was founded in 2012 with a vision to provide technologically advanced end-to-end solutions and services to the farming community in India. With a ‘farmers first’ vision, the startup today services over 1.5 million farmers through its vast network of 10,000+ micro-entrepreneur franchise stores called DeHaat Centers across 11 Indian states.
Shashank Kumar, Co-founder and CEO; Shyam Sundar Singh, Co-founder & Executive Director; and Arun Dudee, Chief Technology Officer, DeHaat discuss the company’s growth story, the impact they are driving in this domain, and how their collaboration with AWS has been beneficial for their success.
Offering 360-degree solutions to farmers
While many agritech startups are working on various problem statements in the value chain, DeHaat today is one of the largest Indian full-stack agritech platforms. Over the last four years, the startup has delivered 60x growth and has raised over USD 221 million.
The startup caters to every product service that a farmer may require through the crop cycle such as pre-sowing services like soil testing, access to high-quality input products from various brands, financing and crop insurance services, 24*7 agri assistance services – both physical and virtual through its agri-experts, personalised advisory services using their homegrown AEROS solution and market network with logistics and quick payment support.
“This is a multi-billion dollar industry. However, stakeholders and businesses operating in the sector struggle to reach out to farmers. DeHaat as a solution is a business-to-farmer platform which brings agri-businesses and farmers closer to each other efficiently and transparently,” shares Shashank.
Building with AWS
As DeHaat started taking its products and services online, AWS played a crucial role in helping the smooth implementation and building of a flexible cloud ecosystem. “We used AWS as a plug-and-play system and with its features of governance, networks, security, and storage capabilities; we were able to quickly develop a state-of-the-art online platform thereby reducing go-to-market TAT,” says Shyam.
The initial cloud infra setup resulted in quick scaling for DeHaat and with the need to evolve and expand, the startup further used various AWS services. “For Analytics related services, we used Amazon RDS but as the volume of data grew substantially, we moved to Amazon RedShift. Similarly, we also started using AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate to handle our serviceability during high traffic on the website. So far, we have used every layer of AWS to support overall tech development of our platform,” he adds.
With a vision to simplify the lives of millions of Indian farmers, team DeHaat leverages AI to research and solve problems across various models. Currently, the startup is building solutions around four major areas which include – crop classification, yield estimation, crop health assessment, farm segmentation and more.
“We use European space agency’s data which is hosted on Amazon S3 bucket. We further use Amazon Sagemaker to bring us different advisories from that data. To manage all this, we have a custom ML ops framework. I believe AWS is the most mature, developer-friendly cloud ecosystem available today. It is easy to implement and requires a minimum time framework to help you get started,” says Arun Dudee.
“Not only AWS helped us with the right documentation and support, but it also assisted us in designing a custom ML flow best suited for the agritech industry,” adds Arun.
Driving impact using AWS
With the help of real-time analytics of data, DeHaat has been able to provide the right input at the right time to the farmers which in turn has led to at least 15 percent reduction of cost to farmers in procuring the seeds and other important materials.
Moreover, using the crop acreage prediction model, the startup was able to identify yield estimation with 90 percent efficacy. Lastly, the team has excelled in real-time crop disease detection with more than an 80 percent success rate. Overall, the impact with the help of AWS has led DeHaat to become one of the fastest-growing agritech startups in the country.
DeHaat founders believe that the future in agritech is about connecting different data points and deriving actionable insights that are further beneficial to the entire farming ecosystem. “We need a partner like AWS which can help us evolve in the journey and realise this aim,” concludes Shyam Sundar.
This content was originally published here.