Online Contest Portal Document


Smart farm Grant Challenge



Smart Farm Grant Challenge is a program to identify impactful solutions from start-ups to address the problem statements identified for sugarcane harvest. 

                                  PROBLEM STATEMENT

Sugarcane yield depends on various factors such as cane variety, climatic condition, time of harvest, supply chain etc. Sucrose losses after harvest of cane due to delayed transport and unfavourable environmental conditions are one of the most serious problems in sugar recovery process.

Sugarcane is a perishable commodity and need to be processed in to sugar quickly after it is harvested. Studies have indicated that nearly 20-30% of total sucrose synthesized by sugarcane plant is lost during various stages of raw material handling and sugar mill processing.

There is a direct correlation of sugarcane productivity with the optimum age/ maturity of the crop. The peak sucrose content of sugarcane at harvest time is affected by different growing environment and plant physiological conditions during the maturation period. Furthermore, the variation among soil on cane fields causes considerable differences in soil moisture holding capacity, degree of drying, and, consequently, the rate at which cane fields ripen. Thus, harvesting of sugarcane at a proper time i.e., peak maturity, by adopting right technique is necessary to realize maximum sucrose accumulation and sugar production. Harvesting cane either underaged or overaged at the improper time results in a loss of cane production, sugar recovery, and low juice consistency. Improper harvest age is recurrent problems of pre-harvest cultural practices, which severely affect quality and yield of sugarcane.

Study of cane quality parameters plays essential role in assessing the optimum maturity stage of the cane harvest. Further, weak supply chain causes post harvest losses due to staling of canes after harvest. To optimise the losses due to staling cane, it needs to be crushed within 24 hours of harvesting as staling beyond 24 hours results in considerable loss in cane weight due to moisture loss and reduction in juice sucrose content due to inversion.

The post harvest sugar loss is one of the most alarming problems of sugar industry. However, harvesting the crop on optimum maturity stage and least time taken from harvest to crush by strengthening the supply chain leads to better sugar productivity in terms of both yields and recovery which is a key value driver for the sugar mills.

Considering the above facts, the STPI announces the Smart-farm Grant Challenge for Development of a “Digital solution to predict optimum time of sugarcane harvest”. The application must have features but not limited to the few indicated below:

  1. 1.Should predict optimum time of sugarcane harvest in a given plot area with reasonable accuracy.
  2. 2.Should utilise computer simulations and the digital data for reaching accurate results.
  3. 3.Should provide plot wise Polling in cane and yield estimate.
  4. 4.Estimate the sugar content of all the plots in its catchment area remotely.
  5. 5.Should identify the plots which are mature/ ready to harvest.
  6. 6.Should identify the poor plots in the initial stage.
  7. 7.Should identify command area vs survey area for identification of the forged plots & left out plots.
  8. 8.Should identify water stressed plots and inform the exact time of irrigation.
  9. 9.Results should be in easily interpretable formats viz graphs, images etc.
  10. 10.Results should be validated against the real time digital data.
  11. 11.Developed solution should be user friendly (most of processes may be automated).
  12. 12.Should be documented elaborately.
  13. 13.Low on usage of power/ processor.
  14. 14.Should not have any external hardware dependency.
  15. 15.Results along with the advisory to be disseminated through mobile app to the farmers and the sugar mills.

The Smart-farm GrantChallenge is open for participation in teams having experts from all domains of a software development life cycle.



The Indian Tech start-ups, MSMEs, Companies, LLPs registered in India under Companies Act can apply. The entity must have 51% or more shareholding with Indian citizen or person of Indian origin. The applicant’s entity should not be a subsidiary company of any foreign corporation.

To encourage participation from academia and industry, participating teams are not mandatorily required to be registered Indian Companies / startups / MSMEs/ LLPs to apply for the Smart-farm Grant Challenge. However, the 4 teams shortlisted at Ideation Stage will be required to apply for registration as Indian Startups/ Company/ MSMEs/ LLPs and submit the proof of having applied at stage of submission of Prototype.

It will be expected that by the time of selection at the final stage, necessary registration will be completed. It may be noted that funds will be transferred only in the bank accounts of Startups/Company / MSMEs / LLPs and not in the bank accounts of individuals.


The Smart-farm Grant Challenge would be in three (3) stages:

Blind Review: An expert panel (hereinafter referred to as Jury) from MeitY, STPI, DCM Shriram Sugar Mills, Academia, Industry, etc. will evaluate the proposals and will shortlist 25 proposals.

Ideation (Stage-1): Teams will have to propose their innovative and cutting-edge ideas of their solution. Shortlisted 25 teams will be asked to make a presentation to Jury. Based on the recommendations of Jury, Top ten (10) teams would be selected from this stage and provided financial support to the tune of INR 5 Lakh each to develop a working prototype of the proposed solution within three months duration (max). In this stage, the shortlisted team is expected to complete data acquisition and development of algorithm. The results of the developed algorithm should be validated with the lab experiment/ ground truth to establish the percentage of accuracy of the developed algorithm.

Prototype (Stage-2): This is the critical phase of the Smart-farm Grant Challenge to build upon the idea and mature the prototype. The shortlisted entries from Stage-1 will get a chance to present their prototypes to a distinguished Jury. Top four (4) teams will be shortlisted for the Final Stage. These four (4) techno-economically viable prototypes shall be selected for product development and each team will receive funding of INR 20 Lakh to build their solution as per the need of the user agency (DCM Shriram Sugar Mills) within six months duration (max). These Four (4) winning teams will also get a chance to deploy a fully functioning product based on their working prototype on Government approved Cloud Environment, provided by CSPs empaneled by MeitY and subsequently field trial, testing, deployment and demonstration of results/ predictions at approx. 500 acres. plot areas in the radius of 30-35 Km from the DCM Shriram Sugar Mill Located in Loni, Hardoi, and Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Solution Building (Final Stage): The prototype of the four (4) winning teams of Stage-2 will be presented to the Jury. The solutions would be evaluated based on parameters that will include but not limited to Innovation, Replicability, Scalability, Usability, Ease of deployment/roll-out, Potential risks involved in implementation of the solution, accuracy in percentage, correlation with the real time data etc.

The winning team with the best-judged solution will get a contract to deploy their solution for use by Government of India, State Government entities, Government sugar mills for a period of 3 years and will also be given fixed amount of INR 50 Lakh in the first yearand further support of INR 10 lakhs per year for next 2 years after the first year towards Operation & Maintenance of the solution for the Government and dissemination advisory to farmers for next two years.

All teams including the winning team shall be free to market the product to any entity outside the user agency with consent of MeitY, if required.


Step I: First Level Quality Check & Review by Organizing Team
1. Assess compliance to Eligibility Criteria of participating Teams
2. Assess quality and completeness of the responses provided in the respective nomination forms

Step II: Assessment & Screening by Jury
1. Conduct Detailed Assessment of submitted ideas for shortlisting 25 proposals
2. Contact SPOC for seeking additional information / artifacts from the shortlisted nominations

Step III: Shortlisting Entries for Ideation Stage
1. Conduct presentation and review Ideas submitted by all the 25 teams
2. Score Submitted Ideas out of 100 on each Evaluation Parameter to select 10 best Ideas

Step IV: Evaluation of Entries for Prototype Stage
1. Conduct presentation for 10 teams and review the prototype built by them
2. Score Submitted Prototype out of 100 on each Evaluation Parameter to select 4 best Prototype

Step V: Selection of Entries for Solution Stage
1. Conduct presentation for 4 teams and review the solution built by them
2. Score Submitted Solution out of 100 on each Evaluation Parameter to select the winner  


Total duration of the Smart-farm Grant Challenge would be around 12 months/ 1 year (ideation, prototype and product stage).


9th May 2022
Application submission start date
8th June 2022
Application submission end date
23rd June 2022
Announcement of Shortlisted Applicants

Note: Dates are subject to change. Kindly check the portal regularly for latest information.



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