Big Idea

Quality Check

Nebulaa’s MATT grain analyser ensures better pricing for farmers

RA Chandroo

Government’s eNAM (National Agriculture Market) portal has come handy in successfully integrating 585 markets across the country, wherein a trader from one part of the country can now bid for grains from any other part. However, this also has its own shortcomings. The traders won’t get to check the quality of the grains. While primary trading doesn’t really have quality testing criteria in place, secondary trading involving FMCGs and millers have to pay between Rs.800-2,000 for testing each sample in a laboratory. It takes another three days to get the results.

Hyderabad-based start-up Nebulaa Innovation’s MATT grain analyser has just made this process easier and faster. At a cost of Rs.150-200 per sample, the machine gives an instant report on the quality of the grains in less than a minute. With its integrated image processing through multiple cameras and artificial intelligence, the founders claim to provide the most reliable results to the users compared with its closest competitor C-DAC's AnnadarpanSMART.  MATT gives a three-dimensional image of the grain structure checking it for appropriate size and quality and hence defining its price. “Farmers often don’t get the right price as compared with the quality of grains that they provide. Having immediate quality testing machines installed at mandis will ensure that they get the fair price on their produce and so does the customers,” says founder Tanmay Sethi.

According to him, C-DAC’s AnnadarpanSMART machine provides a one-dimensional image of the grain and cannot differentiate between individual grains if kept together while MATT is far more advanced in terms of technology and provides timely results.  

The machine helps FMCG companies identify the quality level of grains across different geographical locations. Farmers can also benefit from the analyser which provides detailed data on the deficiency of minerals and nutrients in the crop, which could hamper its quality, growth and appearance. Sethi explains, “In many cases, between 6-30% of the crops turn out to be unfit for selling and this impacts the overall income of the farmers.”

Largely focusing on sectors influencing food grain trade such as government-operated mandis, FMCGs and feed companies, customising these machines based on their requirement, type and load have been a complex task. The start-up sells its machines to these institutions at around Rs.1.4 million which can scan up to 15 varieties of grains. The number of samples can be upgraded on an annual license fee basis. Further, small-scale millers and individuals can access these machines from the nearest distributor for fewer sample testing for seasonal grains. Distributors can get these machines after making a security deposit of Rs.300,000 for two years. The revenue generated from testing is divided between founders and distributors. 

Sethi and his co-founders Yogesh Gupta and Mohit Dadhich have so far prototyped their machines in seven markets including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and two in Telangana. Since its commercial launch a few months ago, they have already got orders for 10 machines and are in talks for another 50 by the end of FY19.