CTO & Co-Founder
By assisting the farmers in implementation of exceptional practices in producing, harvesting, packaging and transporting produce, Kamatan Farm Tech, headquartered in Delhi, makes sure that farmers get value for their produce that is significantly higher than the traditional supply-chain offered them earlier. The company seeks to build efficient supply chains for all farm produce, leveraging technology to reduce wastage and inefficiencies, while linking producers and bulk buyers in a seamless, transparent and value-driven relationship. Supplying agricultural produce to different segments of customers across 50cities from 14 states of India, the co-founder of the company, Amol Patil shared with us how they handle the entire range of farm produce using technology.
In conversation with Amol Patil, CTO and Co-Founder, Kamatan Farm Tech
India accounts for more than 450+ start-ups in the agri-tech space, which translates that every 9th agri-tech startup in the world is an Indian one. How is Kamatan Farm Tech making a different space in the Agri Tech domain?
Given the size of our agriculture driven economy and the sheer vastness of this domain, the high number of Indian startups is not surprising. Information asymmetry, less than desired technology penetration and inefficiencies at different levels, have made this space ripe for disruption. Kamatan is committed to solve the supply side of the problem, by working with farmers and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). Our vision is to build a truly inclusive agri supply chain which brings better value to farmers.
Tell us about the pain points that Kamatan is addressing exclusively, and why these challenges attracted you as an entrepreneur?
Small and marginal farmers account for 85 percent of total land holding and 44
percent of cultivable land. In this aspect, Indian agriculture is very different from that in most of the countries across the world. This in turn results in myriad challenges for the small farmers: getting a fair price for their produce, access to formal capital, access to quality inputs (seeds, pesticides, fertilizers), low yield, access to market and so on. That’s why, the foundation built around thousands FPOs spread across the nation was a great start. But a large number of FPOs were struggling to get market linkages for their produce. There was a fundamental lack of trust between these farmer collectives and large buyers.
We believed that we could bridge that gap and connect FPOs to large institutional buyers like agri-enterprises and modern retailers. In just about 2 years, we've worked with 60+ FPOs and provided market linkage to their produce. We've signed MoUs with 800+ FPOs across 28 states. Through our Rural Business Hub (RBH) initiative, we are getting them access to financial services and inputs, training on best practices and building technology solutions tailored to their needs. Our presence de-risks both the producer and the buyer, as we ensure alignment of price, quality, timing of delivery and timely payment to farmers as well as credit to the buyer.
We've built a FPO digitization product specifically tailored to address the needs of FPOs
Brief us about the technology solution Kamatan provides for the Agri Tech industry.
We have a two-pronged approach to this. First is around the FPOs. We'd learnt that managing inventory, sales, purchases, payables, receivables are big problems for most of the FPOs. Often, they do not have the resources or the bandwidth to manage these professionally and this results in leakages/pilferages to the tune of 6-8 percent. Drawing from our expertise of building robust internal systems, we've built a FPO digitization product specifically tailored to address the needs of FPOs. This would greatly simplify their day-to-day activities.
We've started deploying this to some of the FPOs in our network.
Second, is about farmers. Thanks to
mobile penetration in rural India and cheap data tariffs, many of them have access to smartphones. We've built a mobile app, to deliver relevant and personalized content to farmers. Through this, we also deliver specific government schemes information, knowledge bytes from local agri experts and actionable crop advisory.
Narrate a success story of your implementations.
One of the FPOs from southern MP, was struggling with increasing their farmer member base. As a result of a smaller member base, their revenue generating ability was also limited. When we started working with the FPO office bearers and their foot soldiers, we realized that they had done work on the ground and gathered data, but their means of communication were not very effective. Through our system, we built a SMS and missed-call based solution to solve this problem. FPO office bearers could create communication campaigns to reach out to non-members and tell them about lucrative offers they were running on sale of inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides). This generated good inbound interest on which they could follow-up further leading to sale of inputs and enrolment of new members. This FPO is now championing the farmer app in its catchment area. As one of the early users of our digitization solution, they are managing their operations much better and with a smaller staff.
Please tell us about your future goals for Kamatan.
We believe our technology interventions in the FPO and farmer world will lead our next phase of growth. Farmer app will be available in more regional languages and we’ll continue to add more quality content sources, while building a trustworthy farmer community. Further working with our FPO partners, we will continue to build our digitization offering. In tandem with ground support from RBH teams, we’ll deploy this solution to FPOs from more diverse regions. Increasingly, large agri enterprises are attracted to working with us as we offer an unparalleled opportunity to connect directly with literally thousands of FPOs and a wide range of agri produce across the country. In the coming 18-24 months we see Kamatan as a reliable partner to both FPOs and agri enterprises, solving not just the crucial marketing challenges faced by producers, but also converging financial services, input supplies and value-added opportunities to FPOs and their members.