Lightrock India-backed Arya.ag, has bought a 100 percent stake in agriculture data science company Prakshep, as the integrated grain commerce platform looks to bolster its tech capabilities to provide end-to-end solutions to its users.
Prakshep’s acquisition will help Arya.ag boost its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities for farm digitisation, crop monitoring, quality assaying and surveillance, the company said in a statement on June 2.
The acquisition will also help Arya.ag further deepen its relationship with other agri-chain stakeholders like farmers producer organisation (FPOs), processors and corporates, banks and insurance companies, it added.
The distinct digital offerings of Prakshep will add to Arya.ag’s deep tech capability to provide traceability, transparency, quality assurance for seamless commodity commerce, Arya.ag said.
“With the acquisition we look at traceability coming in right from the farm level itself. So, when a buyer comes in to purchase the commodity on the platform, they exactly know where they're coming from, what has been the upkeep of the crop from the field onwards, and that is one area that we have got our hands on with the acquisition of Prakshep,” said Prasanna Rao, founder, Managing Director, Arya.ag, in a telephonic interaction with Moneycontrol.
Prakshep’s acquisition also aligns with Arya’s focus on climate smart agricultural models with reduced carbon footprint, the company said.
Prakshep’s models have facilitated a 45 percent reduction in crop damage, 40 percent reduction in use of chemicals, 35 percent reduction in water usage and a 30 percent fall in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Arya.ag claimed.
Climate smart agriculture is pertinent to the challenges of food security and climate change, and the partnership between Arya.ag and Prakshep can offer smart and scalable solutions to reimagine the agricultural ecosystem, he added.
“We also very strongly believe that sustainable agriculture is one of the most important parts of agritech. The entire carbon footprint mechanism that this data science company will be able to provide as a capability is again going to be very, very significant as we move forward,” Rao said.
Rao did not disclose the size of the acquisition but said that all of Prakshep’s employees will join Arya.ag, including its three founders — Avijeet Kumar Singh, Sameer Kumar and Prithviraj Sen Sharma.
Arya.ag, which was earlier a part of the 105-year-old marine conglomerate JM Baxi Group, had recently raised $60 million from Asia Impact SA, Lightrock India and Quona Capital. Founders Rao, Chattanathan Devarajan and Anand Chandra acquired a controlling stake in the company in 2013.
Arya.ag’s platform connects sellers and buyers of agri produce, providing complete assurance on quantity, quality and payments. The company claimed that it will hold the largest database in agriculture adding farm details including boundaries, crop activities, and health and yield valuation to its existing repository of storage and grain value chain database.
Blockchain in use
Arya.ag is also developing India’s first public agri blockchain ledger, Rao said. Prakshep’s deeptech experience and expertise will add further farm level integration and preload extensive historical farm activity data to Arya.ag’s blockchain ledger.
Arya.ag said it is looking to provide complete visibility and traceability of the commodity right from the producers’ field and build complete assurance for all stakeholders in the agri-value chain.
“What blockchain does is it provides publicly verifiable information, which is available very, very transparently for the crop that is moving from the field, with its picture, with the field’s picture and so the know your customer (KYC) is not just of the farm but is completely visible on the blockchain,” said Rao.
“You also can see the grain moving from the field to aggregation centre, from aggregation centers to warehouses, from warehouses to marketplaces and can track the in-between legs of finance,” Rao added.Arya.ag said it aims to strengthen its relationship with its existing base of almost a million farmers and 500 FPOs by providing farm assessment and crop health monitoring via AI integration, remote sensing, and satellite imaging.