Inspiration:

We have always known and used Pega to build process workflows to meet and enhance technical requirements posed by our clients, but what if this technology with tremendous capabilities, can be applied for solving one of the major issue plaguing developing countries like India. One such attempt is the idea below which we have presented for Pega Hackathon.

Problem Statement:

India has always been known for its large biodiversity in terms of our geographic landscape, culture and people. From ancient times people used to depend on agricultural sector for their livelihood. India is a subcontinent with tropical climate with rains feeding most of the water sources for human being sustenance. The rainfall primarily is widespread over 2 monsoon seasons, June – August for most of the subcontinent and October – December for South Eastern part of India providing much needed water resource to its inhabitants. Farmers in this country primarily grow their crops dependent on the monsoon rains and grow produce according to soil and climatic conditions suitable for the region.

Farm sector produces almost 20% of India’s GDP and most of the farming activity takes place in villages, which by the way is the only way to generate revenue for rural population. Farm sector employs nearly 60% of population in India, most of the people involved in farming always live their life in distress owing to several reasons, and few are listed below.

  1. Farmers in India are not educated enough to understand on how they can sell their produce direct to market without involvement of intermediaries.
  2. Farmers are taking private loans from money lenders at very high interest rates and whenever there is a crop failure end up committing suicide as they are unable to repay the loans to the money lenders who act as mafia.
  3. Non-availability of water from other sources like (irrigation channels, underground bore wells, open wells and tank bunds) is making them lose the standing crop.
  4. Natural calamities like flash floods, hailstorm, rains during harvest season, manifestations of pests on the crops etc. are some of the main causes threatening farmer’s livelihood.
  5. Unscientific way of growing crops, new variants of pests attacking the standing crops, no proper channel to sell the produce to get fair price and crop failure owing to temperature and soil conditions are other major issues plaguing farming community.
  6. Sudden drop in the sale price of produce owing to excessive production and less consumption is another major factor impacting the finances of farmers.
  7. The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) announced by governments to cover farm loans in case of crop failure is not reaching the intended beneficiaries due to several layers of bureaucratic process and corrupt officials.
  8. No proper warehouses or storage facility from government affects the export process of the excess grown produce and thereby losing window of opportunity for providing the MSP value to farmers for their produce.

What it does?

To address the problem statement, we have come up with a solution which would use Pega’s robust and strong capabilities like Case Management, Integration Services, Decisioning Hub and Reporting Solutions to effectively address this issue. Our proposed solution:

  1. Collect Farmers Data: In India we have every small village covered in the below hierarchy

    Gram Panchayat (Village Level) --> Taluk Office --> District Office --> Legislative Constituency --> Parliamentary Constituency.

    At gram panchayat level we would provide role-based access to panchayat member to capture farmer’s details within our application. Data pertaining to biographic information of farmers, the land records owned by him or his ancestors and any relevant historical information needed to process his data.

  2. Analyse farmers Data: With farmers land data available within our application we would then collect information about the crop details which he intends to grow in the current season. With robust predictive models, the system would look up the geographic details, soil conditions and climatic conditions and would suggest whether the decision to grow certain produce would yield sufficient income for farmer and whether the crop can be cultivated. If the crop cultivation is intending to fail the system would suggest an alternate crop which would yield high returns and confirmed growth even if there are chances of adverse weather conditions.

  3. Making Cooperative Banks More Meaningful: With data in the system the application would then list the authorized banks within the area which could provide loans against the land records for farmers along with providing crop insurance in case of crop failure to cover for the bad loans. With loans availed from nationalized banks and event of crop failures, the government can write off these bad loans as one time subsidy to farmers thereby reducing the chances of corruption by intermediaries within the system and preventing farmers from taking loan from private moneylenders.

  4. Crop prediction and utilization: With information available within the system about upcoming yield, the government can analyse the market sentiment in case of excess production against consumption and plan for effective utilization of the produce. The government can work with neighbouring countries to export the yield thereby making farmers more chances of earning better income in case of excessive production as well.

  5. Availability of Yield Data for Private Industries: Government can provide fee based access to crop data to industry segment in advance helping them to build their supply chain for production of other goods and making sure more employment is generated.

How we built it?

The proposed solution is built on Pega 8.5.2 version and we have utilised the latest features available for building the workflow components. Pega Decisioning feature has been used to perform predictions related to weather, crop and soil information.

  1. Farmer Registration: The Panchayat member need to access the Pega application and create a Register Crop case, which will take him to the Search screen. If the farmer is a registered user, he can search for farmer’s details using his Aadhar card number, else, he will be prompted to register the farmer details using Register Farmer link.

  2. Crop Registration: Once the farmer details are registered successfully, then the Panchayat member will get a prompt to check if the farmer has already started the cultivation process,

If Yes, then the crop cultivation and storage- details are captured. Based on the location of cultivation, weather and soil factors, suggestion (using Predictive analysis) is provided on the possibilities of crop failure and loan waiver schemes available in case the crop failure is incurred.

If No, there will be charts displayed detailing the following information,

  • Weather Report for past 4 years month wise
  • Soil Report for past 4 years month wise. Based on the Weather and Soil factors, details (using Predictive analysis) on the list of suggested crops which are favorable for the given location is provided.

Note: The location information is automatically captured by the reports based on the Location field[Position] in the Panchayat member’s(Analyst) operator rule.

In addition to these, there are links to check the Weather information of the given agricultural land and Maximum Selling Price (MSP) and Wholesale Price information of the major agricultural commodities are provisioned which would help the farmer get better insight on the type of crop which would be favourable for the given season.

P.S: Public API’s hosted by Government of India have been integrated with Pega to retrieve the Weather and MSP information.

  1. Loan Details: In the next step, a check is done to see if the farmer has taken a bank loan for cultivating the crop.

If Yes, then the details of the Bank, loan type and loan amount are captured to the system.

If No, then a list of banks and interest rate at which the loan is provided based on the loan type are listed which the farmer can refer to decide on the type of loan and bank to avail the loan amount from.

These banks are nationalized banks and government can get access to the loan data of individuals using, secured API’s which can be built on their existing systems.

  1. Insurance Details: In this step, a check is done to see if the farmer has availed crop insurance.

If yes, then the details of the details of the Insurance plan availed are captured to the system.

If No, then the list of Insurance companies, insurance type based on crop season, premium amount for the sum assured will be displayed to help farmers decide on if they want to avail the crop insurance. Once, all of these details are captured the case would be submitted and a record will be held in Pega work table.

Dash Board Reports:

Case Manager Dash Board: The Super User Dashboard is equipped with reporting charts which will give details on the below information.

  1. Crops harvested State wise,
  2. Crops harvested based on Harvest month,
  3. Expected Estimation (Prediction) of Crops Production,
  4. Weather report of the state for the current year month wise,
  5. Soil report for the past 1 year month wise. P.S: Similar reports are shown in Analyst Dashboard but the crop details are filtered based on the state in which the farmer has done the cultivation.

Pega Components:

The following are the Pega components configured to enable the proposed solution.

Case Types:

Register Crop: This is the main case type which will drive the workflow to capture all the details related to the farmer, crops which he has selected for cultivation, crop loan and insurance.

If farmer has not sowed anything before reaching the Analyst, then he will be able to get insurance/100% loan waiver else % coverage will be less. 

Data Types:

Farmer Details – This data type is created to store the Meta data about farmers and his land records.

Crop Produce Details – This data type is primarily used to capture information related to crops and will have a foreign key reference to farmer’s Aadhar record. This can be used to perform lookup of farmer details to check all the crops the farmer has cultivated.

Note: In Case he has 3 acres of land and wants to cultivate 1 acre with grapes and the rest 2 acres with Corn then we would create 2 cases for this farmer.

Crop Produce Details - Holds the crop data.

Simulation Data Types:

1.Soil Report - Used for simulating soil history for past years.

2.Weather Report - Used for simulating weather history for past years.

3.Insurance Details - For simulating insurance details.

4.Bank Loan Table - For simulating loan information.

Work Parties: 

There are 5 work parties considered for the proposed solution to start with:

  1. Analyst [operator]: Analyst will capture the farmer details and will give information regarding which crop to grow. 
  2. Field Inspector [operator]: Field Inspector will validate the land. 
  3. Farmer [Land Owner]: Interested party 
  4. Central Agricultural Dept. commissioner[operator]: Super User 
  5. Manager at Taluk, state & district levels. Each manager will have different access groups. 

Integrations:

  1. Integration with Geology Department: This API would provide the soil information about the place you are intending to cultivate using GPS co-ordinates of the location.
  2. Integration with Meteorological Department: This API would provide information about the current, past and future weather conditions for a given area based on the co-ordinates.
  3. Integration with Revenue Department: This API would provide information on land records which farmer holds to help banks to speed up the loan process.
  4. Integration with FCI (Food Corporation of India): This would provide information on the crop yield to FCI in advance for preparation to handle storage or exports to other countries.

Predictive Algorithms:

  1. Weather prediction data based on previous years weather records.
  2. Soil fertility information based on soil test results and historical yields.
  3. Crop failure prediction based on adverse climate prediction or insect manifestation.
  4. Alternate crop suggestion based on the ROI and favorable climatic and soil conditions.

Challenges we ran into:

  1. Understanding how to find and integrate with public API’s available in the Government websites for sourcing weather and geographical data.
  2. Extensive research was needed to understand the scientific parameters needed to conclude on how a soil of a given land can be measured and what are the weather factors to be considered for harvesting.
  3. No central repository to look for crop data grown by farmers in the interior and remote parts of the country.
  4. The solution or the problem statement is too vast to be covered as part of this project and can spawn out to be a multi-million project looking at the magnitude of the issues we are trying to address.

Accomplishments that we're proud of..

The following are the functionalities achieved based on the proposed solution.

  1. Transparency in Farm Loan Waiver: Whenever government announces to waive loans availed by small-scale farmers (less than 3 acres of land), the money should reach the beneficiary transparently using our solution. By doing this, we can also assure proper utilization of tax payer’s money.
  2. Crop Production Prediction: If we have a system in place which could capture details at village level to record what crops will be available in the next 3 months, government can plan in advance on how store the produce and export it to neighboring countries by initiating the dialogues ahead of time. This will bring in the much-needed FOREX and prevent the fall of the price for the produce in case of excessive production.
  3. Educating Farmers: With the data available within our application, we would be able to provide the necessary and context appropriate training to farmers for effective cultivation thereby reducing the chances of crop failure.
  4. Weather Prediction: With the information obtained from meteorological department and using Pega prediction models, we can timely inform the farmers to look out for possible climatic conditions and proactively inform them to change the produce, which would sustain the harsh climatic conditions.
  5. Reviving Village Banks: Currently the nationalized banks for farmers (Co-Operative Societies, Grahmin Bank) are not much helpful in providing loans to farmers and with our application and access to revenue records of the lands owned by the farmers, we could streamline the loan processing through these banks in a subsidized and guaranteed way.

What we learned?

As a part of provisioning the solution to this challenge, we learnt:

  1. Information related to public API’s which are readily available for Integration to get Weather, Geographical information, farmer land records etc.
  2. Pega Decisioning capabilities, which can be used to predict the soil and weather information to help farmers decide on the crops, they have to harvest for a given season.
  3. A single platform with robust technical abilities can actually help improve the GDP of the country if implemented correctly.
  4. We can solve the problem of food wastage, grow nutrient rich food within the available land, and help for healthy living of human beings.
  5. Different crop insurance schemes and crop loans provided by Government to farmers to assist in farming.

What's next for Farm Easy?

  1. The proposed solution can be enhanced to capture leased lands as well as Insurance information can be captured using the public api’s hosted in Government site.
  2. The application can be enhanced to be built into mobile devices with localization (language options) for better reach.
  3. State specific crop reports can be shown on Analyst dashboard.
  4. Pie chart will be shown in the dashboard based on crop per state. Similar charts to be shown for each state/district. 
  5. Broadcast messages can be sent to all the registered farmers for which crop should be grown in the coming season/month through SMS/email depending on area of cultivation.
  6. Going forward the application can be expanded to subsidiary farming like sericulture, dairy; fisheries etc. and generate more profit for people involved and for government as well.

How do we sell this?

  1. Agriculture is one of the sector wherein we do not have too much penetration in terms of using Digital technology to improve the sector.
  2. Pega currently has solutions to all industry leading domain segments but there is nothing, which has been built until date to serve agricultural sector.
  3. This solution could be a one of its kind which can built and sold to all developing countries primarily the ones, which rely heavily on agriculture for their livelihood.
  4. India sets aside a whooping amount of 3 Billion USD for annual spending on farm sector, which can be tapped to sell this solution to Govt of India.
  5. Pega was used in some state level project implementation for Andhra Pradesh government and same strategy can be applied to Central government initiatives.
  6. The amount of users who would be using this application would run into several thousands and cloud based implementation would be the ideal way to build this application.

Built With..

  1. api
  2. Pega
  3. Rest
  4. web-services
  5. Pega Decisioning Hub
  6. Reporting

References:

  1. Government of India website holding public API’s: https://data.gov.in/
  2. Government aided Crop Insurance Schemes : https://vikaspedia.in/
  3. Irrigation sources: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/other/agricultural/types.html https://www.drishtiias.com/to-the-points/paper3/cropping-patterns-and-major-crops-of-india-part-one https://www.ugaoo.com/knowledge-center/irrigation-methods-helpful-for-indian-farmers/
  4. Soil Quality Research sources: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/8/3490/pdf https://www.soilhealth.dac.gov.in/
  5. Crop Research Sources: https://www.bankexamstoday.com/2017/06/state-wise-list-of-crops-in-india-their.html https://agricoop.nic.in/sites/default/files/pocketbook_0.pdf

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