Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:
'Uberization' is a word derived from the functionality of 'Uber', the popular commute option in our fast-paced world. This word has various applications and connotes a property of a highly tele-networked business to hit the culmination of order in operations, through increased cost-effectiveness, and structured services. The revolutionary concept of 'Uberization in Agriculture' was shone a light upon at the World AgTech Congress 2019 organized by ICFA in India by Sanjay Borkar, CEO and Co-Founder of FarmERP.
The modern world of Agriculture sees the use of artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, satellite imagery, computer vision, drones, advanced sensors, automation, and so many aspects that were unheard of a few decades ago. This hi-tech edition integrated with daily agronomic activities may not be the reality across the world today, but one step at a time, companies like FarmERP are working towards making a difference and enabling a change in the Agricultural World.
FarmERP, a market leader in AgriTech, is working effectively towards the Uberization of smallholder farmers and aims towards making them independent and more efficient in their agriculture practices. FarmERP helps in mapping and tracing this entire process, from pre-sowing to harvesting, procurement, and sales, to traceability. With this project, FarmERP is bringing the farmers and buyers under a single platform for a more efficient and profitable business.
Vegetable growers are primarily smallholders that are faced with various challenges daily. Cultivating vegetable crops require more attention, precision, and care during the entire crop cycle. Because of the short crop duration, growers need an accurate execution plan backed up with resource availability. The lack of knowledge and just in time advice makes vegetable farming a loss-making proposition for these smallholders. Hence, FarmERP decided to initiate the Uberization Project for vegetable growers in the State of Maharashtra. To escalate this project, FarmERP has joined hands with Hi-tech Farmer Producer Company and buyers like Go4Fresh and NextOn Foods.
Santosh Shinde, COO & Co-founder, FarmERP adds, “In a country with 1.3 billion people and 48% of the population being dependent on agriculture, it is important to align the sector with technological progress to meet the ever-increasing demand. Our purpose with this project is to bring smallholder vegetable farmers on this platform to increase profitability and make farming a predictable business for them. FarmERP has created an innovative technology offering, reinforcing development, and aiming at being the Pioneers of Uberization in Agriculture Technology.”
Two key vegetable growing areas in Maharashtra, India, have been selected, i.e., Otur and Khadak Malegoan, near Pune and Nashik respectively, considering crucial challenges like excess rains and Covid-19. The project covers 24 organic & conventional vegetable crops. FarmERP offers vegetable growers with end-to-end services inclusive of a package of practices, climate-smart advisory concerning nutrition, irrigation, pest & disease management, quality control, harvesting as well. Field officers and farmers use the mobile app to capture all information. Procurement by buyers with labels pasted at farmgate, ensure complete traceability.
Uberization project maps the following steps in vegetable cultivation;
- Geo-Tagging of grower plots were administered to gain basic information, and pictures of farms and produce were put on top priority
- Creating a task calendar for a particular plot and notifications to growers on daily basis.
- Climate-smart digital advisory services (DAS) in the local language are pushed as and when required. Growers also get resource requirements in advance.
- Grower can monitor his expenses and budget for the crop cycle.
- Agronomists intervene for specific advisories.
- The buyer can make out the quality of produce and offer purchase rates.
- If the rate is agreed by the grower, procurement, packing, and sales happen.
This entire process from Farm to Consumer is covered over a single digital platform with growers, FPC/FPO, and buyers accessing with their credentials.
FarmERP promotes Sustainable Agricultural practices and Climate Resilience during the crop production stage by educating farmers through Digital Advisory Services (DAS). Weekly visits by field officers take place to collect research data and make observations. Collective marketing helps to reduce the emission of distributions in the supply chain, which also contributes to climate resilience.
Uberization project of smallholder growers ensures farmer-buyer linkage. FarmERP extends expertise to these farmers to understand & measure quality standards that the buyers expect. FPC/FPO and buyers both benefited by meeting demand and supply at both ends.
Meanwhile, buyers also keep track of what the farmers harvest via the FarmERP app. In this way, the buyers understand/track the quantity and quality of produce beforehand by looking at the real-time crop images that are updated regularly by the field officers of FarmERP. These tracking mechanics help the buyers analyze the products and pre-decide the exact quantity & best buying rates.
To ease up further processes, FarmERP labels each product before sending them forward to the packhouse where produce is scanned. This ensures product Traceability. Moving to the packhouse, scanned products are mixed in lots of finished goods and forwarded to dispatch for packaging, ready to be sold to the end consumers via retail stores and online shopping apps.
The reality of farming today is a lot of toil and tribulation, and resulting in not knowing if the crop will be abundant or if it will result in a loss until it is the time for harvest. Through the Uberization project, FarmERP aims to help farmers determine the right value of production, analyze data correctly, and establish market linkages, ultimately translating into a better price for their produce. FarmERP is leveraging the 'Uberization of Agriculture' to help mitigate uncertainty and enhance profitability for smallholder farmers.