New Delhi-based agtech startup InfyU Labs has begun collaborating with Jammu and Kashmir Horticulture Planning and Marketing Department (JKHPMD) to analyse fruits and vegetables using its digital scan “Infizer” and help growers get better income.
“To begin with, InfyU is analysing cherry’s internal value, its quality, pH value and predict its shelf life. We have expanded our reach in this collaboration to mandis in Srinagar and Jammu regions,” said Vishal Chauhan, head of sales, InfyU labs.
InfyU Labs’ “Infizer” is a mouse-like device that can help analyse the quality of fruits or vegetables, including their shelf-life, without cutting them. The “lab in a pocket” device is being used to analyse the quality of various fruits and vegetables.
“Our outreach to mandis is to provide market linkage to growers and farmer producer organisations (FPOs). They will benefit directly as their returns will improve when buyers are made aware of its special features,” Chauhan said.
“Our collaboration brings quality assurance of fruits and vegetables for buyers. Even those shopping from home will get fresh produce since Infizer is aligned to customer needs and changes in buying habits,” he said,
Explaining how growers and consumers will benefit, Chouhan said, till now fruits and vegetables have been bought by traders by physically looking at their colour, shape and size. “This has been more of guesswork. Our equipment allows anyone to scan, done through spectroscopy method, and determine how fresh the produce is,” the InfyU Lab official said.
This will provide the required information to buyers to assess and pay according to the growers demand “The scan, using artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, provides details on when it was harvested. This can help reduce post-harvest losses and manage wastage at distribution centres,” he said.
Starting with cherry
In Jammu and Kashmir, InfyU Labs has obtained permission to go to the grassroots to work with the Horticulture Department and FPOs. “We are working on 15-17 commodities, but have begun work with the cherry. Our presence is there in other places such as Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, National Capital Region and Ahmedabad where we test for a leading store,” Chouhan said.
Recently, InfyU Labs presented its solutions to the Union territory’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
Vishesh Paul Mahajan, Director - Horticulture Planning & Marketing, J&K, said his department was working on avoiding pre-harvest, post-harvest, transportation and storage losses of fruits and vegetables and had thus roped in InfyU labs.
“We are already working with Intello Labs on the grading of horticultural produce. On InfyU Labs, the best part of the gadget is that it can guess the shelf life of a product and thus its movement can be planned to reduce post-harvest losses,” he said.
The JKHPMD is planning to put stickers either on the produce or boxes detailing about the harvest, the date when it entered the market, its expiry date and, if possible, even information about the grower.
“J&K is the largest producer of apples in the country but not all of them reach the market. We want to help growers to reach all their applies to the market. In this effort, we are open to all start-ups and technology firms,” Mahajan said.
Chouhan said following a request from the J&K administration to come out with a gadget to provide technical details of commodities such as almonds and walnuts, InfyU Labs has now come out with “Spectral Box”, a table-top kind of equipment. This will be launched soon commercially, he said.
“This can give details of dry fruits and special commodities such as honey on the width, size, chemical composition and other aspects such as expiry date besides providing a certified report that can be shared with buyers and exporters,” he said.
InfyU Labs has recently begun working with Adani farms to grade apples. “They have multiple collection centres in Himachal Pradesh. We help them in grading and sending to buyers in almost all metropolitan cities. We put stickers on the boxes so that customers will get details of date of plucking and trace it to respective farms,” the startup official said.
The agtech firm has also begun working with Hyderabad-based Kapil Agro Farms Pvt Ltd on commodities such as mangoes, blackberries, blueberries and sapota (sapodilla or chiku).
InfyU Labs is now reaching out to agricultural produce marketing committee yards for quality analysis of agricultural produce, which can be cost-effective. “We are looking at helping cost-effective online trading from the mandi level onwards,” Chouhan said.