“Food security and safety are our highest priorities”

Dr Rachna Dave, CEO & Founder of MicroGO shares details on how her company is addressing India's significant post-harvest losses in major crops and commodities and how IoT technology can empower stakeholders.

Dr Rachna Dave, CEO & Founder at MicroGO.
MicroGO, a pioneer in providing smart and sustainable hygiene and infection control solutions was established in 2016 by an ex-scientist of India’s premier institution Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. MicroGO clientele includes 15+ big brands including Airport Authority of India, IHCL (TAJ group), IRCTC, Bigbasket and Apollo Hospital.
In this interview, Dr Rachna Dave, CEO & Founder of MicroGO shares details on how her company is addressing India’s significant post-harvest losses in major crops and commodities and how IoT technology can empower stakeholders.

BV LogoWhat are the key milestones achieved by MicroGO since its inception?
It is heartening to mention that the solutions deployed by us at our customers’ and partners’ sites are now part of their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). One of our key milestones was in 2020 when our first patent was granted within 90 days of filing. Another major milestone was when we received BIG and SBIRI (Small Business Innovation Research Initiative) from BIRAC, DBT, Government of India.
With our solutions, GOassureTM MAX and Lite, we served the nation from Leh to Kanyakumari and from Tripura to Jamnagar during covid and serviced more than 10 million people. It was followed by the launch of GOpureTM inline water management solution on August 15, 2022.
I am highly elated to inform that we are backed and endorsed by Department of Science and Technology, IKP Knowledge Park, Tamil Nadu Start-up and Innovation Mission, Savli Bio Incubator, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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India suffers significant post-harvest losses in major crops and commodities. Where do we stand currently? Can we address these challenges through next generation technologies?
The Ministry of State for Food Processing Industries has highlighted that over 15% of fruits and 12% of vegetables in India currently succumb to post-harvest losses
Let’s consider the example of Onions. Globally India is the second largest producer of Onions and India’s global share is 19.90%. The production accounts for 269 Lakh tonnes annually while India consumes 156 lakh tonnes. Despite all these statistics, the post harvest storage annual losses stand at Rs 11,000 Crore. The major causes for the losses are weight loss, decay and sprouting.
To counter such massive challenges, our product MicroGO’s GOfresh™ that uses science, engineering and technology is designed to combat these losses head-on. By implementing GOfresh™, farmers, distributors, and consumers can enjoy several benefits such as significant shelf-life extension during storage and distribution; nutritional preservation; sustainability and positive environmental impact; and technology enabled for real time monitoring.
“We have made significant progress in tackling the challenge of crop losses by utilizing science, engineering, and IoT tools.”
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What role is IoT technology playing to empower stakeholders throughout the supply chain, improve product quality, increase profitability, and create a positive environmental impact?
Currently, we are focused on addressing the issue of post-harvest losses in onions. The Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, recently initiated the Grand Onion Challenge in response to this issue. We have made significant progress in tackling this challenge by utilizing science, engineering, and IoT tools. Through these efforts, we are incorporating sustainability and accountability into management practices, effectively reducing onion post-harvest losses.
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What are your product offerings for farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture value chain?
Currently, we solely focus on the essential ingredients of Indian households, namely potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. Our primary objective is to minimize losses in these three categories and collaborate with stakeholders in pursuit of a solution that will enable them to store and transport produce at ambient conditions while maintaining its freshness until the end of the claimed shelf life.
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Are there more such innovative technologies in the pipeline and what are the application areas?
Food security and safety are our highest priorities. We are developing capabilities and capacities in this area that will eventually bring us closer to achieving our purpose of advancing human well-being through the One Health approach.
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Can you share more details on the agriculture/food related projects that MicroGo is currently working on?
An initiative by Tamil Nadu Start-up and Innovation Mission (S2G Connect) brought us closer to farmers and other stakeholders in Tamil Nadu, where we discovered their challenge in keeping greens (referred to as ‘keerai’ in Tamil Nadu) fresh and marketable at room temperature. We are currently working towards the objective of maintaining keerai at ambient temperature for at least seven days
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How does MicroGO prioritise innovation and stay ahead of the competition? How do you see the future of MicroGO in the next few years?
Innovation is the key to all our endeavors. The initial five years of our company were devoted to developing platform technologies with multiple applications. We prioritize innovation and customer satisfaction as the core values of our organization. To ensure our continued relevance, we actively incorporate technology, environmental sustainability, and business health considerations for our customers into our hygiene and infection prevention offerings.

*This interview was first published in the July 2023 edition of the BioVoice eMagazine.