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.