Nowadays, space monitoring makes it much easier to run agribusinesses, reducing risks and helping people run their farms more efficiently. Kazakhstani farmers willingly use satellite data to monitor their fields. But communication with representatives of small farms showed that many of them still consider space monitoring as too expensive and budget permissible only for large companies. Today we present Egistic, Kazakhstan's first startup for precision farming, whose creators initially aimed to make their product accessible to small and medium-sized farms with limited finances for full automation.
"We are in the business of developing software, software for farmers. With our software, they get satellite imagery that allows them to set up more accurate and efficient agricultural activities and, as a result, improve land yields," explains Zhandos Kerimkulov, CEO of Egistic.
The company obtains its data from the open databases of NASA and the European Space Agency. The images are received every three to five days. Then they are processed and updated in Egistic software.
The farmer gets the real picture of his farmland via space monitoring. All the information required for quality agro-management is displayed - crop condition, germination and maturity of crops, weed infestation, and problem areas to which the farmer needs to pay special attention. Based on imagery, agro-consultants provide accurate calculations for fertilizers, seed application and soil fertility analysis.
"Using satellite images is very convenient. Firstly, accurate rather than subjective information is provided. Secondly, there are a lot of procedures for which the farmer used to spend a lot of time before. For instance, a detour and inspection of the fields. Now everything is done in a minute: you look at the images, and it is clear what is going on in your territory. In addition, you can see from satellites what is invisible to the eye. For instance, there is a weed infestation or a disease in the center of the field. If you drive around the edges of the field, you can't see what's going on in the center, but it's very easy to see from the satellite," says Zhandos.
The company recently became the first in Central Asia to contract with the American remote sensing company Planet. The company's images are updated daily. This means that if you subscribe, you can now receive information on the fields every day.
A farmer using Egistic can enter his cadastre number and it will appear on the map. As a result, the farmer monitors the level of vegetation, nitrogen, moisture in the plant leaves and many other important parameters from the comfort of his home. You can see the history of your field. How it has developed, the current condition of the soil.
Egistic helps farmers manage telematics as well. With GPS monitoring you can see the traveled route of special machinery, time of work, machine speed and even fuel level in real time. This means it will be even easier for farmers to plan their budget.
In order to improve the program of the latest updates, the developers added a new module "road map", which can help to plan the agro-industrial operations.
As for the financial component of the project, Egistic followed the path of maximum simplification and cheapening of the software. "Many farmers still think that the use of such technologies is very expensive and is only possible for large agricultural holdings. Indeed, similar foreign services are present on the Kazakhstani market, they are quite expensive and difficult to use. We maximally reduced the cost and simplified the software. This enables any farmer to use satellite images in his work. Our service costs are considerably lower, just 90 tenge per hectare, whereas other companies sometimes charge 600 tenge for the same service", says the Project Manager of the company about the pricing policy of the company.
According to Mr. Kerimkulov, the company is able to keep such an attractive price for its services because there is a lot of agricultural land in Kazakhstan.
"We gain by volume. Plus we have attracted financing, we have strategic partners who are involved in the development of the company. It is also important that we work directly with farmers and agricultural companies, we have a very high customer focus. We receive information directly from farmers who test our products themselves, that is, our product is partly created by the farmers themselves," says Zhandos.
Today, the company serves more than 700,000 hectares and has more than 1,000 registered users on the platform, which includes farmers themselves and their key employees. This is the first Kazakhstani development of this level. Of course, there are analogues, but it is Egistic that represents the case when an ordinary startup has developed into a serious business helping farmers to effectively manage their crops.