SLCM launches beta mobile app to test crop quality

New Delhi-based agro-logistics company Sohan Lal Commodity Management Pvt Ltd (SLCM) on Wednesday launched a beta of its mobile quality control app for agricultural products.

The app, considered the first of its kind, can detect the quality of a product within seconds. Launched under SLCM’s proprietary AgriReach umbrella, the app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store on mobile phones and tablet PCs.

India’s wheat exports could quadruple to their highest level in 8 years as world prices recover

The app, which will track the user via GPS, will be available in English, Hindi and other regional languages. In the long run, SLCM plans to charge farmers a nominal fee for using the app.

No more products by the end of the year

To start with, the app offers results for wheat. Users have to take a photo of the sample on the app and wait a few seconds for the results. Before the end of the current fiscal year, the company will add commodities such as rice, corn, chana (gram), soybeans and guar (bean) for quality testing on the application.

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They started with wheat, as it is the most traded commodity in the country, said Sandeep Sabharwal, CEO of SLCM.

SLCM, which offers warehousing facilities for approximately 950 products, will provide facilities to test the quality of a majority of food grains via the app during the next fiscal year. “Then we will expand the facilities for vegetables and fruit,” Sabharwal said.

“Our goal is to help farmers think about their crop in a logical way. We also want to make crop testing scientific and transparent. This app will be a game-changer in commodity trading, ”he said.

Disadvantages of laboratories

Currently, a laboratory test of an agricultural product costs 840. Besides, it takes 3-7 days for full results. It takes about 25 minutes to analyze a batch of wheat for the presence of immature, ruffled, fleshy and shriveled kernels in addition to waste.

Lab reports “are error-prone, inconsistent, non-transparent and subjective,” said Rakesh Kumar Rana, commercial director of SLCM (Digital Initiatives).

On the other hand, in rural areas, the quality of the product is determined by traders and brokers from its physical characteristics such as color, broken grains and presence of waste.

The results provided by the app are automatically compared to data pre-populated in the back-end system, which updates regularly in real time using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) with the Python programming language.

“We will also store historical data for the convenience of users,” Sabharwal said.

80% accuracy

The app is the result of four years of extensive research, with SLCM filing a patent in 2018 as an AgriReach QC app. He has set aside 25 crore to develop the app, with 11 crore already spent to launch the beta.

“You can click and get a report in under 10 seconds. Farmers and traders can get quality reports without any human interference, ”said Rana.

According to Sabharwal, the results are independent of the total sample weight as they are based on the image.

Currently, the app reflects 80% of the results provided by laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration. “We will soon reach 95% accuracy,” said the CEO of SLCM, adding that more features will be available, such as delivering results as a batch is loaded onto a truck for delivery.

To a question, Sabharwal said SLCM is working with states and other government agencies to deploy its solutions, including warehouse monitoring. “We are in talks with various organizations to come up with our solutions,” he said, adding that one of the goals of the app was to change the habit of testing a product only physically.

“We want consistent, transparent and traceable results according to BIS standards. For example, Canadian peas are graded A, B and C and they are accepted worldwide, ”he said.

Ready to adapt ‘

On the acceptability of the app for farmers and traders, the CEO of SLCM said that there were no private warehouses seven years ago. “But today we have a lot of private warehouses. People are ready to adapt to the changes and that will be acceptable since the application of the app is with the consumer, ”he said.

SLCM had around 2.5 lakh of photographs of wheat samples taken to perfect its application and there were checks and balances to ensure the data was not tampered with.

“We plan to bring a feature to take multiple photos or videos of trucks loaded with product by clicking on a few apps. We will even have a function to take a consolidated photo or video of a truck loaded with sacks of wheat burlap or any other product to ensure correct data and results, ”said Rana.

SLCM plans to integrate buyer and seller data as the company uses nearly 1.4 lakh of trucks each month. The data will be shared, with the user’s permission, to ensure farmers get the right price, Sabharwal said.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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