India is an agrarian economy with agriculture supporting 60% of our population. Indian agriculture is highly dependent on human labour and good rainfall. While most developed economies have mechanised farming and reduced dependency on rains through state interventions and good planning, Indian farmers still plod along with obsolete farming techniques to support a growing population. Yet the contribution of this major sector to GDP has been steadily declining and currently stands at 15%. This stagnant state of affairs has triggered action from entrepreneurs and startups who are introducing technology to farming in new ways. We look at some of these young companies whose farm-tech enterprises are breathing new life into a traditional sector.
This Farm to Shop (F2S) platform was created to help farmers market their produce in a timely manner. Edvin Varghese, a Bengaluru techie with over 20 years experience in various technology roles started an app that initially disseminated the government’s pricing information to a wider audience of farmers. Based on farmer requests for more information Mandi Trades app grew to provide price alerts, agricultural news, government mandi prices with information available in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and English. The app essentially acts as a ‘Farmer’s social network’ and connects farmers to sellers and facilitates price discovery through discussion. The award-winning app has also garnered international interest from places like Thailand and Cameroon.
CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt.
FMCG, Aviation and Logistics companies have improved their operations and efficiencies by incorporating data solutions. CropIn believe that farm digitisation can do the same to farming and encourage farmers to manage their farms more prudently and profitably. They provide solutions like Smart Farm, Smart Sales, Crop Analytics, Smart Pulse and mWarehouse, cutting across the major areas of farming and using cutting edge technology like big data, geospatial analytics and apps to provide farmers with an overview of their entire operations from production, pest control, inventory management and tracking.
Many farmers want to adopt modern farming techniques but lack the means to do so as equipment is expensive and not very accessible to the common farmer with smaller land holdings. So Alekh Sanghera, inspired by his farmer grandfather, started a portal where farmers could rent farming equipment and machinery as needed. farMart is a unique model that optimises the use of underutilised farm equipment thus offering them at cheaper rates to those who need them while providing an additional source of rental income to owners of machinery which are lying idle. Machinery can be rented via the farMart app and also offline through a call center and payments can be made via the government’s United Payments Interface.
In an effort to streamline end-to-end farm produce procurement processes, Truce, formerly known as Bharat Bazar, launched a mobile app that brings together farmers, local aggregators, wholesalers, bulk buyers, food processing industries, and exporters from various states onto one platform. The app also enables quality, payment facilities and logistics for transportation using data driven algorithms. By digitising price discovery and enabling farmers to procure the best prices for their produce as well as removing middlemen and supply chain bottlenecks, buyers can also access better quality goods at best prices. The company recently raised an undisclosed amount of funding to increase their team size and presence across multiple Indian cities.
An ecommerce platform for all things farming, Agroman is the Amazon or Flipkart for farmers. Seeds, fertilizers, machinery and equipment for rent as well as sale, and a mandi service for sale of agri-produce. Vikas Goyal who has previously worked with Zee, Essar and Airtel and is also a serial entrepreneur of sorts, started Agroman in 2015. The platform also provides information on government’s schemes and subsidies for agriculture, agro expert services, latest agro news and crop management information. Agroman also has an offline model which aims to develop markets and generate demand. With the vision of revolutionising India’s agricultural landscape, Agroman is hoping that the farming community adopts digital services to digitise farming.