Israeli firm introduces digital irrigation solution in India

Israeli irrigation firm Netafim, global pioneer of drip-irrigation system, has introduced ‘NetBeat,’ a technology solution to help Indian farmers grow more food with fewer resources.

In a country where water table is depleting rapidly and becoming scarce, it combines real-time data from the field with dynamic crop models to personalise irrigation programmes.

“The new technology solution will help both big and small farmers in organising irrigation digitally by combining irrigation and fertigation control, monitoring and management,” Randhir Chauhan, managing director at Netafim India, told Financial Chronicle.

The 21-year-old Netafim India, which has a 21 per cent market share in India, clocked sales revenues of Rs 900 crore last fiscal, growing over 15 per cent over the last three years.

Netafim India competes with Jain Irrigation, Finolex, Mahindra EPC, and Nagarjuna in the country.

Chauhan said the new irrigation and fertigation management system integrates monitoring, analysis and automation and it interfaces to weather forecast and remote cloud access to the field from anywhere, anytime.

“It is aimed at enabling farmers to maximize productivity of their crops,” Chauhan explained.

He said NetBeat is priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh depending on the size of the farm and crops cultivated like vegetables, sugarcane and fruits.

“The new system is tailor made to suit all farmers in India,” Chauhan said.

Claiming NetBeat as the “first irrigation system with a brain”, Izhar Gilad, head, commercial and business development at Netafim, said it will provide real-time recommendations to farmers based on data pertaining to plant, soil and weather conditions obtained from the field and external sources.

“The data is analysed in the cloud, according to proprietary dynamic crop models and research in the field of agronomy and hydraulics,” Gilad pointed out.

Farmers can monitor, analyse, get decision support and automate their irrigation operation by smart phone from anywhere, he explained.

“This new digital solution is expected to bring about a paradigm shift in drip irrigation technology,” Gilad boasted.

Chauhan said the system provides optimization and smart recommendations throughout all stages of the crop lifecycle, saving water, fertilizer and other inputs and thus improve profitability of the farmer.

He said while a pilot project was being successfully carried out in Satara, Maharashtra over 50 acre of farm land, over 80 units would be installed by 2019 in the country.