Agritech startup Farmkart has forayed into unstructured agriculture equipment rental business by launching a tech-enabled platform rent4farm, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

The rent4farm platform will help farmers rent high quality machinery and equipment at competitive rates. In the first phase, Farmkart has already started providing the rental services in 200 villages near Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, where the startup is headquartered -- by partnering with 100 certified equipment suppliers.

Currently, Farmkart's products and services are available across 3,500 villages in Madhya Pradesh and the company is in process of expanding its footprints to other States, said Atul Patidar, Founder and CEO, Farmkart.

Digital store

At present, more than 1 lakh farmers are associated with Farmkart. It has distribution tie ups with domestic and international agri-input manufacturers such as YARA and Valagro. More than 1,000 products are available to farmers through Farmkart’s e-commerce platform. It also has a Concept Store (Digital Store) in Barwani, which serves the farmers from the city and nearby rural areas.

“We started rent4farm in mid-June this year and the response has been quite good. Now, we are expanding the facility to a wider area and expect to serve at least 10,000 farmers. By the end of 2021, the company plans to take the service to 20,000 farmers in 3,500 locations with a fully-operational mobile application,” said Patidar.

Patidar started Farmkart with an initial investment of ₹15 crore. The company is in an advanced stage of raising Series - A round of funds from venture capital.

He said rent4farm is a key piece of the Farmkart ecosystem and complements its e-commerce, last-mile delivery, agronomy and financial payments infrastructure.

“This will drive value to the farming community and expand our customer base as we move towards Series A,” added Patidar.

Explaining the idea behind rent4farm, he said most of the farmers do not own farming equipment and rent equipment from owners in their villages.

Before rent4farm, farmers had limited options to search beyond their own villages and missed out on high quality equipment available elsewhere. Also, many equipment owners had under-utilised machinery because of limited means to connect with prospective customers.

“rent4farm brings structure to this unstructured market while fostering a culture of micro-entrepreneurship amongst our equipment partners," added Patidar.