Agri-tech startup, Agrograde raises a Seed Round to Expand Its Operations
The company is preparing to enter into new geographies and increase their offerings in the post-harvest space. With the fund, Agrograde plans to expand its technology team to target new crops and increase its manufacturing capacity
India, 4th July 2022: Pune-based agri-tech start-up Agrograde has raised a seed round from CIIE.CO, Social Alpha, and Villgro. Now, the company is preparing to enter into new geographies and increase their offerings in the post-harvest space. With the fund, Agrograde plans to expand its technology team to target new crops and increase its manufacturing capacity.
It has been equally known that quality in fresh produce has always been subjective for a long time, causing multiple problems in the supply chain ranging from food loss to unfair pricing mechanisms. Subjective quality assessment leads to unfair trade practices and plays a significant barrier to digital trade and market access.
This underlies Agrograde to work on standardizing quality in fruits and vegetables through computer vision, and A.I. enabled products. Agrograde's products detect the quality parameters such as size, colour, shape, sprouting, fungal growth, physical damages, rotting, and other significant defects in real-time and segregate fruits and vegetables based on the quality parameters. This improves the marketability of the produce, reduces post-harvest losses, and establishes trust in trade.
The startup was the first to commercially deploy optical grading-sorting technology in the Indian onion supply chain. Optical sorters were considered very expensive and feasible only for large enterprises and high-value crops. Agrograde is changing that by developing an India-first product for high-volume, low-value crops like onion and potato. The start-up works with FPOs, traders, and exporters to enable better grading, sorting, and packing at the source to improve the marketability of the produce at low operational costs and reduce the disputes arising due to subjectivity in quality assessment. Agrograde is also partnering with marketplaces to help buyers discover the right quality of products and reduce the challenges in digital trade. Their product videos on YouTube have been viewed more than 1 Lakh times till now.
Kshitij Thakur, one of the co-founders of Agrograde, said, "At Agrograde, we are building a platform which can enable faster adoption of digital trade in fresh produce. Agrograde's solutions automate the quality management and grading-sorting activities for FPOs while also helping them with market linkage through our partner marketplaces. We have been working with multiple FPOs and traders in onion and potato value chains in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. We aim to make post-harvest technology accessible to everyone and are setting up pay-per-use centres for the same."
In line with this, until now, Agrograde’s products have succeeded in reaching and have been adopted by various consumers, ranging from Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) to Exporters.
Agrograde focuses on increasing the marketability of commodities, reducing post-harvest losses, and enabling an efficient and transparent trading process. In line with the words of Rakeshkumar Barai, one of the co-founders of Agrograde, "We follow an India-first approach for all our products. This approach has helped us achieve massive product differentiation for us. Our solutions are deployed at mandis, farms, and collection centres in rural locations, so things like energy efficiency, clean user interface, dust resistance, low maintenance, and high savings in operational costs are a must. Agrograde has developed one of the most affordable optical sorters globally, making it financially feasible to deploy in low-margin high-volume value chains such as onions and potatoes."
Globally, around 14 per cent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 per cent of total global food production is wasted (11 per cent in households, 5 per cent in the food service and 2 per cent in retail). Food loss and waste account for about 4.4 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Agrograde helps reduce some of the major contributors to these losses. Through this, Agrograde can be said to have great potential to assist operations and increase the efficiency of the agricultural industry in India.
To know more about Agrograde, visit: Agrograde | Agrograde - YouTube
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