STPI Introduces Smart Farm Grant Challenge For Startups

The challenge is open for participants till 8th June 2022 and the final winner would be announced on May 3, 2023. Through SFGC program technical inputs, knowledge of sugarcane cultivation and farms would be provided so that startups can build some breakthrough solutions in this space

The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) launches the Smart Farm Grant Challenge (SFGC) in the presence of Shri Arvind Kumar, Director General, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and other key dignitaries in virtual mode. SFGC is an open challenge for startups where they are required to identify impactful solutions to address the problem statements identified for sugarcane harvest. Sugarcane is an important commodity for human consumption as well as trade. Information and communication technology in agriculture (ICT in agriculture), has the potential to significantly impact the agriculture sector by utilizing ICT tools. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) designated STPI as the implementation agency with Neuron Centre of Entrepreneurship (CoE), Mohali as the anchor CoE.

The selected Start-ups at various stages would be supported by MeitY, MeitY Startup Hub (MSH), STPI, Neuron CoE, DCM Shriram Sugar Mills & Directorate of Sugar Mills, in addition to the various mentors and industry experts. The challenge is open for participants till 8th June 2022 and final winner of final stage would be announced on 3rd May 2023.

On the occasion, Arvind Kumar, Director General, STPI underlined, “Agriculture is a significant contributor to the Indian economy; it contributes around 16 per cent of GDP. SFGC will help identify challenges to sugarcane harvesting & other related issues and build innovative solutions, which will lead to enhancing yield. The use of technology gives cost-effectiveness and also increases production. India’s agriculture technology has the potential to grow manifold to reach $24.1 bn in the next 4-5 years. Any innovation in harvesting tech can be game changer in agri sector.”

Through SFGC, Start-ups are expected to develop the solution which:

(a) Should predict optimum time of sugarcane harvest in a given plot area with reasonable accuracy.

(b) Estimate the sugar content of all the plots in its catchment area remotely.

(c) Should identify the plots which are mature/ ready to harvest.

(d) Ensure insights easily interpretable in formats viz graphs, images etc.

For the participating and selected Start-ups at various stages, significant financial support and funding are being provided as follows:

S.No Financial Assistance / Funding Support Total

(A) Ideation to prototype stage: 10 selected teams @ Rs 5 Lakh each ₹ 50,00,000

(B) Prototype to product stage: 4 selected teams @ Rs 20 Lakh each ₹ 80,00,000

(C) Prize Money to the Winner ₹ 50,00,000

(D) Operation and maintenance charges for next two years @ 10 Lakhs to the winning team ₹ 20,00,000

Total ₹ 2,00,00,000

Roshan Lal Tamak, Executive Director & CEO, DCM Shriram in his speech said, “We sincerely believe that technologies like AI, ML, IoT, remote sensing, satellite imagery have benefited other sectors, so agriculture sector should also explore these technologies. Through SFGC program, we will provide technical inputs, knowledge of sugarcane cultivation & farms so that startups can build some breakthrough solution in this space.”

STPI is a premier S&T organization under MeitY engaged in promoting IT/ITES Industry, innovation, R&D, start-ups, product/IP creation in the field of emerging technologies. NEURON is a CoE in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics (Big Data), Animated Visual Graphics (AVG) and (IoT).

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