eFarm Direct

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eFarm Direct

Chennai, India
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Enabling Farmers Reach Markets - a 'click-and-mortar' solution combining ICT platform and ground supply chain network to fix the agri crisis. Key pain areas for farmers is marketing support , rising input costs , migration of educated and skilled labour to cities and having to bear all wastage/transport costs for uncertain revenue. For any modern industry the various key functions like production, marketing, sales, HR and logistics are managed by professionals and backed by advanced software and ICT tools . Though Cola’s and Shampoos have reached the rural village shops , the reverse supply chain of farm produce to Indian cities has not materialized owing to an inefficient and expensive supply chain. Even with India being IT capital of world, our biggest industry is strangely not 'IT enabled' !
eFarm , has been working to reduce inefficiencies in the forward market linkages using combination of simple business practices and backend ICT platform . eFarmDirect is the ‘online’ component of the ground distribution network, which connects farmers, with other stakeholders in the chain - buyers , input suppliers, labour and transport providers and displays their respective offer and demand in real time . This will enable smooth flow of info between different parties and helping to make government policy-making swifter, data driven and focussed.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The crisis in Indian agriculture cannot be attributed only to factors such as monsoon failures, lack of cold storage and weak productivity. A major part of this crisis can be resolved through professional supply chain management such as demand-driven production, organized marketing, logistics and distribution. This realization acted as a trigger to start eFarm Direct. eFarm Direct makes use of simple IT tools to connect the stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain. We provide relevant information of our user groups: farmers, buyers and suppliers to their respective business counterparts, who until now faced an information gap, which forced them to operate within the rigid confines of an outdated supply chain. eFarm direct allows for an autonomous entrepreneurial activity outside these boundaries. Thereby we empower farmers to become decision-makers, to align their production with the needs of the market and to earn a decent living. Through better planning and matching of supply and demand, our model reduces the eminent price volatility in the agri-sector and thereby benefits everybody along the supply chain, from the farmer to the end-customer. Beyond, our data collection will identify the economic details of the production of a certain crop in a certain area as well as differences in the performance of farmers. This aids agricultural assistance schemes to target the actual needs of the farmers and facilitate broader improvements in agricultural practice.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

There has been an increase in the sale of fertile agricultural land by farmers in the recent years. Farmers switch to non-farm occupation due to ‘uncertainty’ involved in agriculture, like monsoon failure, bumper harvest causing prices to crash down, lack of information regarding demand and their competitors, lack of access to the right market, etc. Subsequently, the buyers or wholesalers of Agri-products face the risk of uncertain supply. Hence we have initiated the process of registering farmers, buyers and suppliers(fixed registration fee based revenue model) of Agri-produce at the national-level. With regard to buyers, information such as quantities of agri-product required, frequency of purchase, grade requirements, option of organic certification, etc are provided. In the case of farmers, the details comprise the produce(s) grown, variety grown, area under cultivation, date of seeds sown, date of harvest, price, expected yield, etc. This helps buyers to find farmers who can supply fruits/ vegetables they require and compare prices for the same variety of products offered by different farmers located at different places across the country. Similarly, farmers can get an idea of various produce demanded by the buyers, obtain better prices and enable them to deal with a wider range of purchasers. This portal makes it possible for all the parties to reduce wastage and thereby losses associated with uncertainty.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

eFarm provides employment opportunities all along the agri-supply chain. In raising the profitability of farming, first our work encourages the young to remain in farming or take on jobs in the sector. Second, we create rural employment through our franchise program for farmer registrations and services. Third, we consult and assist in the set up of ventures adding value to agricultural raw produce like grading, packaging, segmented/niche marketing and other post harvest activities. Fourth, our portal creates business opportunities in connecting all agri-stakeholders, which would otherwise remain in their static frame of operation. We seek to improve the standard of living of rural communities in raising their chances to earn a decent living. At the same time we empower them to do the same with more dignity and autonomy in increasing their independence from individual buyers. We aim to increase the revenues of farmers in empowering them to reduce their input costs, set their own prices and reach more remunerative markets through information technology and real time communication. We are committed to professionalize the whole agricultural sector in making it more market-driven and thereby profitable. eFarm Direct is committed to make the agricultural sector more efficient and thereby decrease its resource consumption. This starts with encouraging farmers to take on sustainable farming in connecting them with the respective customers, subsequently reducing the wastage of commodities all along the agri-supply chain in matching supply and demand through long term planning and exchange of real time information.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We feel given the size of the industry , and wide range of agri products across nation, we need several more entities like efarm to bring professionally managed services in farm sector is critical to resolve the agri crisis. Rather than see the below as 'competitors' we see them as co-entrepreneurs, where each of us take on a different piece of the large puzzle to make agriculture a respectable and sustainable career option for the youth of India. At ground level the commission agents and traders in various mandi's , who currently are the biggest collective players agri goods trade in India , will be our competitor. But there is lot of negativity towards the operative model of 'the middlemen' where there is lack of transparency in pricing, demand etc., Modern retailers though have the money and management talent, have more focussed only in front end urban stores and now in losses. Social enterprises like Samriddhi(Bihar), Digital Green,Logistimo,efreshIndia,Greenbasics have taken different segments of the agri crisis and are using innovation to solve them thru video training, knowledge management, mobile based info advisories, agri clinics etc., Mobile/Tech offerings from M-Krishi, FASAL,Reuters MarketLite are corporte offerings in info/price advisory segment but dont offer physical marketing support.They may be free but are targeting the ad/customer data sharing as a revenue option.


Indrani Sharma's picture

Thank you for your participation in AFI Growth Prize Competition. We have a key question for you:  How will you ensure scaling by supporting the successful entry of other co-entrepreneurs who will bring similar professionally-managed services to the farm sector? What is your financial model for ensuring spread and replication of your idea?

Please post your response as comment here before Dec 15, 2012 to be considered for final evaluation.

Venkat Subramanian's picture

Hi Indrani ,
eFarm has been conducting agri entrepreneurship and training for new entrepreneurs for over 2 years (over 250+ have attended) who want to start agri businesses either in our model or any area of the agri supply chain . We share our expereinces , take them on field trips , connect them with our partners to help jump starts theie ventures. We also have students from across India and even from Europe s who have actively interned with us (over 300+ from various streams) . Several of them have started social ventures. We are currently assisting 5 franchisees to setup their operations acros S.India. Through forums like NEN , Jagriti Foundation we have been playing active role in bringing more young/educated into this sector .
eFarm is a for-profit private limited company and our key revenue comes from 2 sources -
a) Online portal : registrations in the efarmdirect.com portal (farmers/buyers/input suppliers) .
b) Offline Ground distribution : Delivery to end BULK customers like hotels/caterers/food procesors/exporters. This is based on Cost+Margins basis.
c) Franchisee fees from entreprneurs who are replicating our model in other geographies/locations.(Urban+Rural)