The agriculture sector is India's backbone, and most of the country's citizens depend on it for their livelihood. Unlike popular belief, the techniques involved in the same are complex. Most of the processes are highly orthodox, making it difficult for them to adapt to their constantly changing world. As a result, its execution becomes a mammoth task.
Many people have created opportunities for farmers in the ever-evolving digital world in recent times. Using digital innovation, they are transforming the agricultural world and have helped the beneficiaries expand their horizons and reach scores of people around the country. Over the years, such startups have been on the rise, working relentlessly for the cause. Now, another one is added to the never-ending list.
'Facebook For Farmers'
The platform is appropriately called 'Krishi Network'. It is an Agritech startup that wants to bridge the informational gap farmers face with the help of its interactive interface, which provides both offline and online services. Calling itself 'Facebook for Farmers, ' the initiative has become the one-stop destination for the agricultural community to get the information they need and connect with various people in the same field.
The founders of 'Krishi Network' are Ashish Mishra and Siddhant Bhomia, who got their education from IIT Kharagpur. Hailing from a rural background, they both relied on their personal experience to build the platform.
They explain its inception to The Logical Indian, "It is a common misperception that farmers are aware of the nitty-gritty of farming. They often relied on information from unverified sources, which was an insight that came into the picture when we interacted with farmers in India. In 2017, with the advent of Jio, rural internet penetration took off significantly, and they saw it as a huge opportunity to educate and enable farmers to adopt a change of practices to increase income."
Increasing Knowledge Accessibility
Several startups in India are working in the agricultural sector, and they tackle issues that include input selling, output selling, providing capital and many others. However, 'Krishi Network' stands out for a reason.
"It provides instant and accurate answers to all kinds of agri-related technical questions a farmer might have. Through 8000+ expert farmers onboarded who actively contribute to the platform and help fellow farmers, the expert-led advisory, answers delivered within 15 mins, is a unique proposition that we came up with. We made it to help farmers access information such as the latest research and development, weather and market updates, services available, government schemes and advisories for different agro-climatic zones, everything under one roof," Bhomia and Mishra add.
The issue redressal system is Krishi Network's USP. The startup chooses 8000+ agricultural experts due to their work in a specific domain. The founders further explain, "The expert farmers earn respect from the community by contributing on the platform; it helps them build their brand and increase sales for their training or input businesses. These experts mostly interact with the farmers through the app.
The information ranges from weather reports, the current market rates for specific items and crops, and government schemes available With the help of the digital app, it delivers the necessary information within 15 minutes. It is available in Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi and English.
Creating An Inclusive Opportunity
For decades, Indian agriculture has been generational. Several farmers rely on the knowledge passed down by their ancestors and follow it religiously. While doing so, they may fail to realise that it could be outdated in the current scenario.
The creators continued their conversation, "I used to interact with the farmers there and realised that information accessibility was a huge issue they often faced. In such a scenario, these farmers relied on their peers or others for information, which they were not equipped with. The advisory we deliver has directly helped farmers save their crops and increase their yield.
Over time, 'Krishi Network' has successfully created a peer group to assist each other. Their seed selection and plant protection interventions have helped farmers immensely as their income has increased by 15%. Not only that, it promotes a smooth two-way communication between the stakeholders of the agricultural community.
The startup's founders see a bright future ahead of them. "Since our inception, we have focused on building a platform that can be the go-to place for farming activities. Currently, we are on the way to becoming a platform on which progressive farmers lead the way and a place where innovators and brands come in direct contact with the farmers," the founders conclude.