East-West Seed transformed seed production process through precision farming
SmartFarm solution digitised more than 24,000 acres of seed production farmland and empowered its 300+ field staff with real-time data & insights.
East-West Seed (EWS) is the market leader for tropical vegetable seeds headquartered in Thailand with more than 40 years of experience in serving over 23 million smallholder vegetable farmers with quality seeds and innovative services.
EWS has always embraced cutting-edge, new-age technologies to enhance its core operations. Whilst that has been extremely successful in its endeavours as a seed company, the crux of the digital transformation lies in the modernisation of the way they operate.
EWS faced significant challenges and there was an urgent need for digitising their seed production processes to help them in their efforts to bring transparency and discipline into operations, provide farmer advice, solve field issues timely, and increase yield per acre. These challenges included a labour-intensive and error-prone manual data capture process for field staff, a lack of visibility into field activities and production quantity estimation, poor data quality and loss due to manual data collection, and low crop production accuracy, which had adverse effects on their Supply Chain processes.
To address these challenges, EWS embarked on a digital transformation journey in partnership with AgTech organisation Cropin. They implemented the SmartFarm solution for their seed production operations in six regions across Asia - India, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam, with the goal of achieving visibility on seed varieties and field operations, as well as improving production accuracy.
To ensure that the goals of the partnership are met, EWS analysed various metrics to substantiate grades with respect to seed varieties, measured the performance of each seed variety in different soil or agro-climatic conditions, and had an overview of field officers and growers. They also maintained production growth rates and field staff efficiencies, and set up preemptive protocols to gain insights into seed performance and track it across the value chain.
The implementation of the SmartFarm solution has digitised over 24,000 acres of seed production farmland, leading to a full culture shift from manual form data collection to a digital environment with data-driven insights and better user experience.
Moreover, there is now a real-time visibility of field activities with 96% on-time completion leading to improved production accuracy through proactive monitoring of crop protocols, and of the production quantity estimation integrated with their ERP system creating a single source of truth for their Sales & Operations Planning Teams.
EWS realised the need to adopt data science inputs to derive meaningful insights and thereby drive real-time predictability of yield patterns by applying AI/ML modelling on historical as well current SmartFarm data juxtaposed with weather & remote sensing data for a crop.
Having been implemented for years already, EWS plans to leverage the two years of historical farm management data from SmartFarm and enrich it with Remote Sensing and Weather data capabilities. This will enable predictive insights based on historical and real-time data, weather information, and remote sensing data, with the goal of empowering farmers and field staff with real-time alerts and notifications to ensure proactive actions in the field.
This initiative is closely aligned with East-West Seed's core purpose of improving the lives of millions of farmers. It is driven by its digital strategy, which centres on utilising cutting-edge AgriTech tools, technologies, and data to increase the predictability of our operations. The ultimate goal is to optimise seed for better yields, thus contributing to food security in alignment with the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The continued innovation through SmartFarm, as well as the successful partnership between EWS and CropIn, has brought recognition for the former, as it clinches the Thailand Technology Excellence Award for Digital - Agriculture at the Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2023.
The prestigious awards programme honours the most outstanding technological projects and innovations and recognises exceptional companies that are riding the digital disruption wave to lead the digital transformation journeys in their respective industries.
The Asian Technology Excellence Awards is presented by Asian Business Review. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2024 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's outstanding retail initiatives, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].