Jital Shah: Harnessing The Power Of Technology In Revolutionizing The Agricultural Domain | CEOInsights Vendor
Jital Shah: Harnessing The Power Of Technology In Revolutionizing The Agricultural Domain

Jital Shah: Harnessing The Power Of Technology In Revolutionizing The Agricultural Domain

 Jital Shah,  Co-Founder & CEO

Jital Shah

Co-Founder & CEO

A Third generation entrepreneur with over 20 years of expertise in International Business and Strategic Planning for New Business, Jital Shah is the CEO & Co-Founder of Elai Agritech and has been a managing partner at the Sanghar Group since 2003, heading the International Trading Business for the group along with the development of new business verticals. The Sanghar Group is a family-owned enterprise having its operations spread across different verticals and headquartered in Pune. Jital also represents his firm at different domestic and international trade groups and serves on the boards of a couple of them. By diversifying into other regions and growing the product portfolio, he has been responsible for attaining 10x growth in the top line. Through digitization, he has improved the group's efficiency and tried to implement a very lean operational structure.

In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights, JitalShah enlightens us more about his professional journey and the unique traits of ElaiAgritech Pvt Ltd.

Could you give a brief account of your professional background and experiences? What inspired you to establish Elai Agritech?
My family has been in the exports of agriculture products over the last 7 decades across 3 generations which is the flagship business of the group. I have been involved in this business since the year 2000 while I was pursuing my grad school. I've always had an interest in farming and have done backward integration in our Agriculture Trading business by pivoting to growing a special variety of onions in Gujarat and Maharashtra.I have also developed an entire R&D team with agronomist support to improve productivity and increase the shelf life of agricultural products for farmers. Through my journey of 2 decades in agriculture, I have also developed and implemented packaging methods to increase the shelf life of the product and ease the production of handling while in transit. Recently along with my wife and sister I have prototyped onion storage in bamboo which is the first one in the country. What I've seen is that technology is lacking in this field, and it's always been my desire to improve it.
The idea was started by a friend of mine with whom I did a program at Harvard Business School. He was the one who briefed me on what they were doing and the models that were being developed. I just jumped in because of my passion for agriculture to help them build a model which could address the pain points of the industry. With my knowledge and experience in the agriculture field, I was invited to join as an advisor on the board and this was my entry into ELAI. Working with the team I liked the whole concept, mission, and business strategy, and that's how I invested. I joined as an advisor, strategic investor, board member, and, eventually Co-Founder & CEO.

I genuinely feel that it is critical to be dynamic in today's world since situations and scenarios change rapidly and it is critical to stay focused

Tell us about your flagship offerings and what are value additions customers can expect from your products and solutions.
Establishing the credit worthiness of farmers with very limited credit history is a challenging task that many agrifintech firms and startups are trying to solve. Our differentiation is in using technology to establish a farmer's ability and propensity to pay. We not only profile farmers but also their farming using remote sensing like AI/ML technology stack analyzes farm boundaries throughout the crop cycle and predicts the potential income from each field to determine the farmer's ability to pay. Additionally, we are working on integrating psychometric parameters to evaluate the farmer's willingness to pay.

Our unique selling proposition for banks is a simple score to evaluate the credit worthiness of farmers. With our technology, banks will be able to easily identify and track in realtime, the ability and propensity to repay for every farmer availing a loan. Farmers will only be required to add their farm boundaries to our application and avail loans based on the limits and rates defined by their creditworthiness evaluated by our technology.

Could you tell us about the latest technologies adopted by the company?
We have three products in our tech stack that seamlessly delivers appropriate insights to stakeholders like credit institutions, farmers, and input retailers: ELAI Farmer's app(Android), RELAI Retailer's app (Android), and Drishti Credit Monitoring Dashboard (Web Suite). These products help ensure that all stakeholders have access to the
information they need to make informed decisions.

ELAI uses remote sensing and machine learning to provide farmers with detailed insights into the health of their soil and crops. We use multi and hyper spectral sensors on satellites to capture images and data about the health and productivity of crops. This data is then analyzed by our AI engine to provide insights and predictions about crop conditions and yield. Our technology currently identifies over 12 farm parameters for a farmer's field. We have also deployed a CNN-based prediction system to automatically detect disease when a farmer submits a request. In collaboration with Harvard Digital Lab, we are also training models to identify a potential crop failure midcycle, before it happens, based on the farmer's mobile and social interactions and the progress of their crop cycle.

In 2023, we plan to deploy a package of practices based disbursement system for farmers, where loans will be disbursed based on the completion of previous steps in the crop cycle which will be automatically monitored and disbursed through our remote sensing suite without the need for the farmer to even ask for it once the limit is approved. We will use parametric interest rates and credit limits that vary for farmers based on their Zubaan score.

In light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to budding industry leaders?
I genuinely feel that it is critical to be dynamic in today's world since situations and scenarios change rapidly and it is critical to stay focused. There are many distractions in this current system, but as long as you keep focused and dynamic, I believe it is simple to set and achieve your goals. We have been quite successful as a company and as a leader over the last year and a half. We've learned a lot of new things along the way, and we've reached a point where we know where the greatest demand is in this sector, so we've decided to focus on that as a team.

Jital Shah, CEO & Co-Founder, Elai Agritech
Jital Shah is a third-generation entrepreneur with over 20 years of expertise in International Business and Designing Strategies for new businesses. Jital Shah has served in several prestigious organizations over the years, including Strategic Investor and Director of ELAI Agritech Pvt. Ltd, Advisory Board Member and Mentor of Zlade, Advisory Board Member of SkillEdge Technology, Board Member of Entrepreneurs Organization, South Asia Region, and Managing Committee Member of Horticulture Exporters and Producers Association.

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