Interviews

Eyal Mor, CEO, Manna Irrigation Intelligence, Brings an App-based Solution for Drip Irrigation

One of the most essential elements of agriculture, irrigation has now become a big matter of concern. Many developing, as well as developed countries, are on the verge of becoming a water-stressed nation in the coming years. In such a scenario, the technology of drip irrigation has brought a sigh of relief for many agrarian countries. And on top of it, sensorless irrigation recommendation systems are making it a much better situation for farmers across the globe.

Manna Irrigation Intelligence, a leading player in Irrigation Intelligence, has come forward with a farmer-friendly app with unique features of drip irrigation technology and has connected with thousands of farmers across the world to help them with each and every problem regarding irrigation. Tooba Maher, Senior Journalist, Krishi Jagran & Agriculture World, interacted with Eyal Mor, CEO of Manna Irrigation Intelligence, to find out how this app solves the current problems looming with the agrarian sector of the modern age.

Manna is a big name in drip irrigation technology. Last year you worked with nearly 50,000 farmers. Is it true?

Manna currently has 1000 registered users. Manna started its operation in 2019. We are very proud to say that we have already one thousand users.

Having worked in the Indian conditions, how do you analyze the current problems looming in the agrarian sector?

My perspective is very limited to the areas where our system deals with, which is irrigation, recommendation, and proper/crop monitoring. When we go to the Indian world, the grower thinks of innovation and technology. He/she looks for someone who advises him how to irrigate when and how much. Based on our experiments and our data, it has been revealed that by using our tools, we improved the water use efficiency, meaning more plants for the specific amount of water and higher yield. So, my impression is that there is a great need to know how to use more sophisticated tools using mobile phones. We have a big potential here.

What do you think about the issue of shortage and wastage of water?

I come from Israel where you are born with no water, where every drop counts. Our system shows, as I mentioned, the water efficiency. Water efficiency is either to get more yield on the same amount of water, hold the same amount of yield with less water.  

How much water should be irrigated so that the farmers know the proper amount of water?

To counter this, we adjusted our system in order to meet the requirements of the Indian farmer. Our system provides the recommendation on a weekly basis by millimeters. It says you have to irrigate, let's say, 25mm millimeters this week. But the grower doesn't care about millimeters. He/she just wants to know how long they should irrigate. So we translated the millimeters into time by adding the irrigation rate into the system default, based on your irrigation system. It's great because our company is in drip irrigation, we can know all the rates. So, based on the rate, we provide the accommodation by time as requested by the grower.

What made you think that you have to go one step forward and introduce an app-based solution for drip irrigation?

The first work we had to do is incorporate some of the functionality that used to be in our web system with the mobile app as the Indian growers do not have web access. And then, we transformed it. Secondly, we believe the weather is a big issue. We provide weather on a five-on-five-kilometers rate. Sometimes, it's not enough for small plots. Now, we have the ability to connect to local weather stations that are trusted by the world so we can connect and get the current actual data from these weather stations. Thirdly, we had to translate our mobile app. We already did it for Hindi and Marathi. And we are going to concentrate on the local languages to accommodate the app.  

What does the app suggest to you?

The app tells you how long should you open the valve, specifically based on your crop, seeding and planting dates, soil type, weather, salinity level, organic matter, the efficiency of the irrigation system and many other parameters are considered into a single actionable recommendation on how long they open the valve.

How much a farmer has to spend on this app annually?

First-year, it was bundled with Rivulis drip irrigation tape. For every buy of the tape, the grower receives the first year of Manna subscription included in the deal. Starting from the next subscription year, it will be INR 1500 per hectare.

What does Manna Irrigation Intelligence provide?

It provides irrigation recommendations. We are the only solution that does not require any sensor interface, no soil, plant, hardware, and no equipment sensor. It is sensorless, which is something very attractive for the users as they don't have to bother about purchasing, giving power, communication, maintenance, repair and so on. We also provide crop monitoring. We detect parameters such as vegetation level, plant wetness. By combining them, we flag automatically on the image of the field. We reflect areas of inconsistency. We flag those areas and give the potential reasons for this consistency.

How many languages do you operate on?

Currently, we have eight languages around the world. In India, we provide services in English, Hindi, and Marathi. I think local languages do really well.

Is the app targeting farmers other than the areas where you are working?

We are now looking at collaborating with the government on some government projects, and we are going to look for other channels other than Rivulis. Our solution is just not limited to drip irrigation.

How will you be successful with the small landholder farmers in India?

In the end, I believe our vision is that every Indian farmer should have this app that will guide him through the irrigation, seasons and provide some intelligence about what's going on in their land.

Any idea of collaborating with the Central Government?

This is one of the targets of my visit here. We are looking to form multiple ways of collaboration with the state government and the federal government.

 

Transcribed and written by Nikita Arya


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