BharatAgri: Using technology to revolutionize agriculture

    Nikhil Wallecha, Sr. Marketing Manager at BharatAgri

    BharatAgri bridges the gap between technology and agriculture in India. Its algorithm tells farmers what to grow, when and how to grow and water it, to maximize production and farmer income. Co-founded by Sai Gole and Siddharth Dialani, it was first launched as LeanAgri in 2017 and later renamed BharatAgri. It won the UberPITCH competition in March 2017 after which Uber invested ₹35 lakh in the startup. It has now raised ₹4.5 crore. Rural Marketing’s N. Bobo Meitei interacted with Nikhil Wallecha, Sr. Marketing Manager at BharatAgri, to discuss the company’s journey to the growth it has achieved so far. Excerpt of the interview.

    How much has BharatAgri grown since its inception in 2017? 

    Initially, when we were onboarding and reaching out to farmers through ground activities. We used to acquire 1000-1500 farmers each month. Now, through digital outreach, we’re able to onboard more than 3 Lakh farmers on our platform. We’ve seen multifold growth in our premium subscription model with numbers like the below. 

    In fact, for the 1st 5k premium subscriptions, it took us 10 months, and now we’re able to bring 20k+ subscriptions in 1 month. 

    In 2020, BharatAgri featured in Google’s startups list. To what extent did that help your operations as well as in consolidation? 

    With Google Accelerator Programme, we got access to industry leaders and experts in various domains like Technology, Marketing, UX and Design, etc. Under the program, we maneuvered in exploring more networks to acquire farmers on our platform and we also got great help in building a stable and robust tech stack. 

    How many farmers have been directly benefited by the smart solution you provide? 

    So far more than 30 lakh farmers have registered their farms on our platform and more than 1 lakh farmers have purchased our premium subscription. Farmers with premium subscriptions have been able to increase their farm yield 2 times as compared to their previous season and at the same time reduce their cost of cultivation by 20-30%. We’ve seen many farmers who have managed to increase their production by threefold as well. 

    How significantly have the smart solutions changed a farmer’s production? 

    With our solutions, farmers have been able to act on their farms more proactively and reduce the instances of pest and disease attacks by preventive measures, improving the quality and quantity of their produce. They have also reduced the cost of chemicals, fertilizers and other agri inputs. This has been made possible because of: Our Smart Crop Calendar – Sowing to Harvesting Activity for the crop; Weather-Based Crop Advisory – Actionable insights and advisory for the crop based on dynamic weather; and Satellite Imagery of the Farm – For prevention of harmful pest and disease attacks well before the worse condition. 

    What are some of the challenges you face in making widespread use of the solutions among the Indian farmers? 

    The challenging part is to provide advisory by effective mode of communication to every farmer in their regional language and dialect. Because the crop conditions and stages are different across the country and the terms used for every stage are also different for every 100 km even in the same state. To overcome this we’re available on all possible modes of communication for our farmers i.e WhatsApp, In-App Chat, Call and Video Call so that we’re able to help them based on their convenience. 

    Have you developed all the smart solutions independently or have you partnered with some agencies? 

    Yes, all the solutions have been developed by ourselves, but definitely, there are a few best in the industry tools which are integrated part of our solution. 

    How much penetration do you expect in the coming years? In what regions of the country that will happen? 

    Currently, our focus is to expand in the Central and Northern regions of our country, and by the end of this year, we’re aiming to onboard 10mn farmers to our platform. 

    What more smart solutions can we expect from BharatAgri in the near future? 

    Recently, we’ve launched an e-commerce vertical where farmers can buy and get home delivery of Agri inputs and products from our platform. Additionally, in near future: 

    1. Farmers would be able to get deeper insights into their farms from Satellite Imagery by which they would be able to identify the disease or its symptoms well in advance. 

    2. Farmers would also be able to manage their irrigation facilities by calculating water requirements for their farm/crop on the app itself. 

    3. We would be connecting farmers with the nearest available markets where they can sell and get maximum rates for their produce. As we’re getting enormous queries from farmers where they seek help in connecting them with the vendor or APMCs for selling their produce.

    4. Soon farmers would also be able to purchase insurance products for their farms. Initially, we would start with Weather Insurance and later we’ll start offerings for crop insurance as well.

    Read more: Unnati sets off drone spray services for farmers is now on Telegram. Click here to join Rural Marketing on Telegram and stay updated with the latest news and updates on rural business and the economy.