[Exclusive Interview] This Startup Is Empowering Farmers With Technology & Unleashing An Agri-Revolutuion
Recently, we interacted with Mr. Anuj Kumbhat, Founder & CEO, Weather Risk Management Services, and asked him about how his company is encouraging smart and sustaining farming across India.
Here are the interview highlights:
1. Tell us everything about your company and what does it do? Where are you based out of and when did you start?
A pioneer in smart and sustainable farming in India, Weather Risk Management Services (WRMS) is headquartered in Gurgaon. WRMS has been working in the climate risk management space since 2004. The company was founded by Mr. Sonu Agarwal, Mr. Anuj Kumbhat and Mr. Ashish Agarwal as an endeavour to empower farmers to overcome the most daunting agrarian challenges. WRMS is primarily concerned with data, technology, and financial innovation. Such a smart combination helps farmers enhance productivity, gain a secure income, and practise sustainable farming. From designing weather risk management services to developing the world’s first income-guaranteed smart and sustainable farms, WRMS is home to numerous national and international firsts.
2. Please tell us about SecuFarm, how does it work, the idea behind its invention and how are you marketing the product?
WRMS endeavours to make farming sustainable and profitable for smallholders, and with this mission, the company launched the SecuFarm app, a one-of-a-kind solution in the agri space, to offer farmers farm level yield assurance by downscaling their risk using technology and data. The SecuFarm app bridges farmers across the country with the latest digital technology in agriculture and handholds them right from the seed selection stage to make sure that they get a better yield by following the package of practise shared with them in their own language. Once farmers get enrolled in the SecuFarm app, their farm is geo-tagged for farm level monitoring. After this, they start getting customised farm specific crop management advisories, weather forecasts, irrigation advisories, crop awareness audio-visual content, soil analysis, etc. on the SecuFarm app in their language, which ensures a high farm yield and better crop management. The app also links farmers directly with agri experts using the Plant Doctor feature to resolve all their crop-related queries. The app offers post-harvest market linkages to ensure that the farmers get the best prices for their crop in the market. In case the farmers don’t produce the assured minimum yield due to weather attack or crop diseases even after following the package of practices, the company gives them timely compensation, thus protecting their socioeconomic status and supporting rural livelihoods. Thus, SecuFarm is a complete income protection solution for farmers that also drives them towards sustainable and climate-smart farming practices. WRMS is currently affiliated with over 2.5 million farmers; 1 million acres of land have been geo-tagged; 1.5 lakh SecuFarms have been created; and over 10,000 IoT devices have been deployed.
3. WRMS – A pioneer in the index insurance space? Please throw light on the same.
WRMS has been able to leverage technology to develop solutions that get it right to the farmer by offering yield and return assurance to farmers who are willing to utilise WRMS technology and agriculture expertise.
WRMS has well-rounded experience and has developed significant experience in offering full-stack services in parametric and agriculture insurance. It is noteworthy to mention that we own many firsts in the index insurance space. Bundling the global first parametric insurance with an agri-input value chain, the first of its kind parametric insurance with a contract farming value chain, the world’s first parametric insurance for seed production system, and the first ever Area-Yield Insurance (AYII), Indonesia.
Our holistic service suite includes services like Acturial data collection and management, Feasibility study Underwriting & Portfolio Management, Real Time Risk Monitoring & Claim Estimations, and Risk Transfer Solutions. These are offered through our advisory and SAAS platform developed exclusively for parametric and agriculture insurance contracts. WRMS has done Index Insurance product development and hazard assessment studies in India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Zambia, Mozambique, and Malawi.
4. What are the key drivers of WRMS in the index insurance space? How many projects they have done in the space? Please discuss any one project in detail
Today, WRMS is among India’s most exciting and fast-growing climate risk management solution companies with a global footprint. Our team of over 300 professionals includes experts in agriculture, meteorology, data science, actuarial sciences, remote sensing, risk modeling, and information technology. We have a network of over 10,000+ automatic weather stations and a full-stack platform that supports product development with geospatial datasets of weather, vegetation, and crop yields.
WRMS has done more than 10 major projects in the space. We did a project with UNCDF wherein we managed disaster risks of low-income farmers through efficient parametric insurance solution. We designed an innovative index-based microinsurance product to cover losses of smallholders growing sugarcane, price and coconut from cyclonic storm and high wind speed. As a part of this project, WRMS provided:
- Capacity building and outreach plan to the insurers, data providers and intermediary organizations
- Arranged reinsurance for the program from rated global reinsurance
- Calculation agent services for regular claims monitoring and intimation
5. What is your goal set for the next 5 years especially in the index insurance space?
To create a global marketplace for digital parametric risk management solutions that allows individuals, companies or institutions to purchase/offer index insurance or derivatives anywhere in the world.