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October 14, 2019
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Pakistani startup develops tech solution to growing water crisis in agri sector

KARACHI: With the water crisis situation growing out of hand and the country on the verge of drying out by 2025, a Pakistani startup ‘Aqua Agro’, incubated In National Incubation Centre Karachi, has a technological solution for the farmers to yield more crops with less water resources.

The startup has indigenously developed solar-powered IOT enabled devices that are deployed in the fields and monitor environmental conditions such as soil moisture, temperature, humidity and various other parameters. The data from the farms is then sent to an AI-based cloud platform that makes the decision for the farmers on whether the crop needs irrigation or not. The system has been proved to save 50% water as compared to the water consumption in farmers traditional practices and has also observed an increase in crop yield. Farmers are communicated about watering the crops through SMS, email and a mobile application.

The startup aims to raise funds for deploying the technology for 50 small-scale farmers of Pakistan by January 2019. For this purpose, Aqua Agro is running a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo.

Yusuf Hussain, the CEO of Ignite – National ICT Fund, has endorsed the startup in an interview,

“Aqua Agro, an exciting Agri tech startup that allows farmers to save 50 per cent of irrigation water, while actually increasing yield. The artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IOT) based tech is much cheaper than drip agriculture which makes it actually scalable in a country like Pakistan, which is currently headed towards a water-starved future by 2025. Over, 80% water expenditure is on agri-irrigation”, he said.

The co-founder Dr. Muhammad Khurram, stated: “We are raising funds to deploy the system on a large scale of 50 farms. We currently have 6 customers who have ordered more devices after their first crop cycle using the technology. Not only have they been able to save 50 per cent water but have also observed 30 per cent to 35 per cent more crop yield. We believe that the successful results from 50 farms deployment will build the confidence of the rest of the farmers of the country to adopt the technology. We have launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to gather initial funds for installing our devices at 50 farms.”

The startup’s campaign also got featured in Financial Times,

“20 years ago, the land outside Karachi was fertile, thanks to ample supplies of water. But today as a result of the combination of climate change and the pressure of demographics, the water table has dropped dramatically. Fruit trees wither and die.

In response, Muhammad Khurram founded Aqua Agro, which specializes in smart irrigation. Mr. Khurram estimates that farmers who use his smart devices need half as much water, yet they increase yields of crops such as lemons by 30 per cent. He is also using crowdfunding to raise money,” quotes Henny Sender.

The contributors can back Aqua Agro’s crowd-funding campaign and become a part of the cause to combat water crisis which will help the country’s agriculture sector survive with less water resources and cast an overall positive effect on the country’s economy.