AgriBazaar, one of the nearly dozen companies involved in the pilot project to help the Indian government build a database on farmers, has integrated with the Centre’s Electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) and has set up “crop collection centres” for farmers as part of its e-mandi process. 

According to Amith Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of AgriBazaar, farmers sell their crops at these centres, where big screens have been put up display prices of various agri-commodities.

Special feature

“The e-mandi is operating very well in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. A special feature of these centres is that farmers can store their produce in warehouses if they do not get the best price,” he told businessline during an online interaction.

Farmers bring their produce to these centres in view of this facility. They can store their produce in warehouses and can get receipts against which they can avail of loans from banks and non-banking finance companies.

Launched a year ago, the e-mandi has been integrated with eNAM now. “We have observed that over three lakh farmers have taken part through various platforms on our e-mandi,” Aggarwal said

Over 1,000 tonnes are traded in a day by the e-mandi. They facilitate the trade of various commodities mainly soyabean. In Madhya Pradesh, the company has four centres and each contributes 200-300 tonnes a day.  

Testing facilities

With farmers getting remunerative prices, the e-mandi is directly competing with mandis (markets). It has performed well with the kharif harvested crop, while it had done well during the rabi season too. “We have 32 centres in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Since these are in rural areas, farmers need not travel a long distance to sell their produce,” he said, adding that each centre has facilities for testing the crop quality. 

AgriBazaar has entered into the crop advisory segment and has launched a pilot project with 3,000 farmers participating in it.  “Under this, a farmer can download our app and he gets a crop calendar. The moment he sows seeds in the field, he gets a complete crop schedule with the dates and activities. Any change in the farmer’s activity, the calendar reflects it,” Aggarwal  said.

Wheat exports

While providing crop advisory, the startup tries to get the best buyer for the crop and its specific variety. This has helped AgriBazaar develop an “output marketplace”, he said.

“The pilot is going on in Kota (Rajasthan), Guna (Madhya Pradesh) and Mathura (Uttar Pradesh). In Kota and Guna, it is doing very well,” the AgriBazaar co-founder said. 

On the company helping to export wheat to Egypt, he said it got affected by the ban imposed by the Centre on the shipments of the cereal on May 13.  “But we were able to help in the exports of 38,000 tonnes,” Aggarwal said. 

These measures have helped AgriBazaar to help farmers gain confidence in the company and also get finance. “We are able to give the right advice to the farmers. So, they are now able to come to us as we advice them on the next crop and the returns they could get over the next 3-4 months,” the company’s co-founder said.

Kisan Safalta card

Crop diversification is part of the advisory and AgriBazaar’s project has resulted in farmers taking up mustard instead of wheat in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. “There has been been 100 per cent increase in some of the areas we cover,” he said. 

AgriBazaar has recently launched “Kisan Safalta Card” which particularly helps small farmers to avail of farm loans. The loan extended to the farmer depends on the size of the farm, which is geo-tagged, and previous production record. 

“So far, we have dispersed ₹10 crore and the amount has been fully recovered,” Aggarwal said, adding that the loans are given at an interest rate of 11-12 per cent. 

AgriBazaar’s app, which had “output marketplace” when it was launched, now has “input marketplace” as well. About 500 products are on offer in the “input marketplace”, including fertilizer and pesticides, for farmers currently from almost nil a year ago.