Interview with Skymet’s MD and Founder: Jatin Singh
Jatin, what is Skymet’s story?
Jatin: Every year, unpredictable or irregular weather events in India cause unprecedented losses of capital and production, resulting in, for example, inflation in food prices. This is where Skymet comes in. We help farmers and vulnerable agricultural communities in rural areas to cope with climate variability and make informed decisions by providing them with hyper-local weather information. To realize this goal, over 7000 Automated Weather Stations (AWS) have been installed to generate real-time weather and crop monitoring data in order to extrapolate weather parameters in the near term. Besides weather information, we also provide farmers with customized real-time weather-based crop advisory. This permits Indian farmers to make time-sensitive decisions regarding crops, irrigation, pesticides, fertilizers and the like.
Why does Skymet focus on climate risk to agriculture and what is your main target group?
Jatin: We aim at empowering rural smallholder farmers. Despite remarkable technological advances, average Indian farmers continue to employ archaic farming methods. Skymet is contributing to empowering farmers and making them independent from the vagaries of Monsoon.
How does artificial intelligence revolutionize the agri-risk business?
Jatin: Despite providing employment to more than half of the country’s workforce, agriculture only contributes 17-18% to India’s GDP. Artificial intelligence will help in making agriculture climate-resilient, thereby increasing production. With the use of the best technologies, farming in India can grow by leaps and bounds, helping the farmers directly and the country as a whole.
What is the benefit of your products for smallholder farmers in India?
Jatin: Smallholder farmers in India are both economically and educationally disadvantaged. Consequently, they cannot make use of the information that the country’s think tanks generate for better yields in farming. Skymet not only disseminates that information but also attempts to educate farmers through a wide network of informed field agents and through events that encourage the development of a community of practice.
What is your biggest USP that diﬀerentiates Skymet from competitors?
Jatin: What distinguishes us from our peers is that generating data is not our final goal. We also analyse and disseminate data so that it can make a real impact. Our aim is to make relevant information available to all. Our mantra, “from the sky to the ground”, clearly reflects this.
How are BlueOrchard and the InsuResilience Investment Fund helping you grow?
Jatin: When growing a company, it is paramount to select shareholders that make you stronger. This is why in 2017 we chose to collaborate with BlueOrchard and the InsuResilience Investment Fund. They are bringing growth capital, a strong network of local contacts and access to market-leading technical expertise to the table. Most importantly they share our vision and drive to provide solutions to the climate challenge in India.
Thank you, Jatin, for answering our questions.