Building Agri-tech as a Smarter Alternative to Middle Men

The agricultural value chain in India is marred by middle-men who operate across different levels, because of which the margins which also means that the margins that the farmers should get often get shrunk as an effect. This is something which has required great attention, but even the different measures to curb the same have failed miserably, which opens up the farmer to varied forms of exploitation. But with the introduction of technology to the agriculture sector in India, fresh avenues have opened up to establish operational and transactional transparency, along with potential to synchronise the localised agricultural demand and supply dynamics pan-India. Agri-tech and Agri-marketing is here to save the day for farmers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, food processing units, unorganised sellers and end consumers of all agricultural produce. Let us take a stage-wise look at how Agri-tech is set to rationalise the value chain in the country and set it free from middle-men.

Pre-Production Stage
At the beginning of harvest season when farmers across the country set off for their seed selection and related purchases, all as they prepare their fields to sow the crop. Agri-tech would help them connect directly to the suppliers at the top of the supply chain instead of having to deal with the middle-men. Not only that, it would also help them analyse localised crop demand and predict crop volumes and quality by taking all the diverse factors such as climate, irrigation, transportation etc. into consideration. Likewise, Agri-marketing helps them gain much-needed visibility and assess types of crop and volumes, all while preparing for the future stages in the process.

Harvest Stage
This is the most critical step across the entire value chain, where farmers need to ensure that their harvest is high-grade and high-volume. They also need to ensure that their produce gets transported timely and to the right markets, and that they get a fair price for their efforts and output. Information plays a key role here, and it’s sanctity and timely dissemination would be ensured through Agri-tech. Also, mundane losses accrued by farmers across stages of harvest can be potentially minimized through an educated and informed use of technology.

Post-Production Stage
This is the stage where the crop gets graded in the market and farmers get to know the true worth of their harvest. Transparency and optimisation of resources is key here, since often a farmer sells his crop for an amount which is far from the actual value, had he waited for the right time, or chosen the right market to sell his produce. With the ability to standardise information in real-time and make it available for farmers, Agri-tech has the potential to revolutionise how farmers market their produce.

Industrial Processing
This is where the produce has left the hands of the farmer and entered the market in the hands of a distributor, wholesaler, retailer, or being processed industrially to be launched directly to the end consumer as a packaged product. Depending on how the produce is handled, Agri-tech and marketing can once again help farmers make better operational and financial decisions, both in retrospect and anticipation.

Consumption Stage
This is the last stage of the agricultural value chain, where the finished product enters households ready for consumption in the form of ingredients for various food items. Farmers deserve to have an option to sell directly to the end consumers as well, irrespective of whether the consumers approach them or vice versa.

Considering all things, Agri-tech and Agri-marketing are set to create a win-win situation for all the ethical, deserving and hard-working parties in this end-to-end value chain. There is no doubt that farmers and end-consumers take the top-most positions in this network, and a well-rationalised value chain would let the deserving stakeholders derive their due benefit, whether in terms of money, time, effort or information.

Shreyansh Rana
Founder, KisaanGiri