IIT Kanpur-incubated startup, AgroNxt, which had started out as an SaaS platform for farmers in 2016, launched a chemical-free, electronic soil-testing device, called Bhu-Parikshak, this year. It uses NIR spectroscopy and AI/ML to calculate six parameters in a soil sample instantly.
A typical soil testing lab in India takes as many as 7 to 30 days to test a soil sample for a farmer, according to Rajat Vardhan—the co-founder and CEO of agri-tech startup AgroNxt. But then, one probably cannot expect the 4,000-odd labs to conduct the soil tests for 140 million hectares of India’s net sown area any sooner.
This is when the smart and portable soil-testing device Bhu-Parikshak (Hindi for soil tester) comes into the picture. No technical expertise is required for its usage, but just a smartphone to connect and electricity for charging it.
Vardhan and Ashutosh Tiwari started AgroNxt as an advisory platform for the farming community. With subsequent data-driven revisions and investment from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Kanpur as an equity holder, the team decided to introduce a solution for one of the biggest challenges faced by the farmers: the requirement for a rapid, affordable, and chemical-free soil testing device.