Pest Management for Cotton Farming

The CottonAce solution guides smallholder cotton farmers on the optimal time to take preventive action and protect their farm against avoidable crop losses due to pests such as the Pink and American bollworm.

2021 Deployment: Kharif Season

App is deployed in 10 states
Target: 10,000 farmers

CottonAce app has been deployed in 10 states as of Kharif 2021 season. The above heat map displays red alerts – or high bollworm infestation levels – reported between 1st July to 24 August 2021.

In Kharif 2021 (June to December) season, a detailed impact assessment has been planned across 65 districts in India with our scaling partners. It will include a sample from the roughly 10,000 Lead farmers who are part of this season’s deployment, our largest to date. 

Primary users of the CottonAce app – lead farmers – are selected for the lead role they play in guiding fellow (cascade) farmers in their respective communities. There are between 50,000-100,000 lead farmers growing cotton in India, who are trained by farmer welfare programs to manage local pest infestations, including with the help of CottonAce. On average, a single lead farmer will disseminate the app advisory to 10 cascade farmers, thereby extending the overall reach of the solution.

In Summer 2020, the first impact assessment by Agriculture university, Dharwad confirmed a statistically significant increase in income among farmers who adopted the app advisory.

An independent Impact Assessment was conducted during Kharif 2020 which analysed yield, pesticide cost, selling price and net gain reported by CottonAce adopters. Farmers were surveyed across 4 districts across Maharashtra, Gujarat and Telangana, mobilised by Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) members Welspun Foundation and Deshpande Foundation. The assessment observed an increase in net profit of the farmers and a better yield quality.

Way Forward

We aim to reach the majority of Lead Farmers by Kharif 2022 (next year’s growing season), and scale our solution by roughly 5x to 10x. This deployment will be planned based on the results from our Kharif 2021 impact assessment and will move us closer to our goal of impacting over 500,000 cotton farmers in India by the end of Kharif 2023. In parallel, we are exploring alternative approaches to scale this solution beyond 2023.

Awards & Recognition

Google AI Impact Challenge 2019 Winner

AI4AI Award 2020: World Economic Forum and State Government of Telangana

World Changing Ideas 2021
Honorable Mention – Developing World Technology

NASSCOM AI Gamechangers 2021 –
AI for Public Sector