“Under Adverse conditions – some break down, some break records” by Shiv Khera.
Our Unorganized Agribusiness organizations are right now in such a precarious situation that either they have to digitalize or wither away. Our Agribusinesses are here to break records!
Unorganized Agribusiness consists of local food processing units, cold storage units, farm machinery producers and several others . India being the fertile ground of diverse raw material, sky should have been the limit for India’s Agribusinesses. Instead this sector is no where in the race not only by the standards of industrialized countries but also in comparison with several other developing countries.
This is due to the mismatch between the three main players in the value chain namely
Farmers, Agribusiness organizations and the End consumers.
Farmers are crucial in this value chain as they influence both the supply side and demand side as well. So, All is Well for Agribusiness only when Farmer is well.
- We have been witnessing one revolution after other like
Green revolution for increasing the productivity of rice and other grains.
White revolution for increasing milk production.
Yellow revolution for achieving self-sufficiency in oilseeds
GM revolution for engineering crops at genetic level like Bt cotton etc. to withstand hostile climates and pests and finally now
Digital revolution for complete digitalization of Agriculture and Agribusiness.
Any impact on farmer? Yes definitely , but in a negative way.
State of Indian farmer:
Small and fragmented land holding, poor returns, inefficient extension and lab to land activity, price fluctuation, weather uncertainty, atrocities of money lenders and commission agents made farmers languish in extreme poverty.
Wastage of fruits and vegetables amount up to 18% due to insufficient cold storage facilities.
The estimated post-harvest losses are at Rs 44,000 crores per year, valued at whole sale prices.
“To a man with an empty stomach food is god” by Mahatma Gandhi
I asked my 10-year-old kid whether she was feeling hungry and the answer she gave me was, “ I don’t know how I feel when I am hungry” ! which meant she never experienced hunger. That was the time I realized that our children are being overfed and is the same even with many adults as well . When we are starving, every morsel of our food turns out to be delicious and we feel satiated. Unfortunately, we the middle class and rich ones (except those on diet) do not wait until we are hungry. These overfed, well-informed and pampered consumers are the targets for our Agribusinesses.
Source: Google images
“A satisfied customer is the best Business strategy of all” by Michael Leboeuf
To satisfy the consumers, Agribusinesses should first understand their needs and requirements. Food consumption patterns are steadily changing with the western influence and internationalization.
Source: Google images
Our children are after packaged /branded food products.
Working women and bachelors are after ready to cook foods and other convenient kitchen solutions
Health conscious people are after hormone free, pesticide free organic foods
Patients and older people are after probiotic, food from ancient grains like jowar, quinoa etc and foods fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Premium consumers are after customized dishes. Agribusinesses have to mould themselves and cater the customers accordingly to be successful.
Latest Digital trends in Agribusinesses:
Agribusinesses should proactively take the challenge and adapt to the changing scenario.
Cultured farming: Can you imagine that one day Digitalized Agribusinesses will produce meat without animals, eggs without hens and milk without cows? It is possible with the help of Cultured farming where animal proteins are grown in the lab and there is no need to grow the whole animal. So no issue of Animal rights Group or non vegetarian problem.
Nutraceuticals : We can see number of workaholics who skip lunch or grab some unhealthy fast food keeping their eyes fixed on the computer screen. For such dedicated employees, nutraceuticals from bioengineered algae like Soylent and Spirulina are the most balanced drinks with all the essential nutrients is a boon. Algae culture is an emerging and promising Agribusiness venture.
3D food printing: Such Agribusinesses help deliver highly personalized diets by enriching food with various nutrients and medicines as per the consumer’s requirements.
Supply chain innovation: Improvised sacks, refrigerators, trucks etc will reduce the losses while transporting to the remote areas and there is great demand for Agribusinesses which are into agri-logistics.
Urban vertical farms: These are gaining popularity which make use of digitally controlled and manipulated indoor lighting systems, irrigation and nutrient media to grow seasonal crops throughout the year without any environmental impact. Continued supply of raw material at the Agribusiness location itself is a boon.
Technologically savvy Agribusinesses: Several Digital monitoring Apps in local language and with simple GUI are highly beneficial . They make farmers life easy like
NextField DataR analyses the soil type, climatic factors etc and determines the suitable crop and optimum time to sow seeds.
GEOSYS’s satellite-based remote sensing combines the historical records with the real-time observations and helps in predicting problems even before the real symptoms appear.
Source : CBINSIGHTS
Drones which are fitted with sensors that take images of crops and based on the requirement he can apply fertilizers or pesticides just to the plants that require treatment known as Precision agriculture.
Geo-tagging is the technique which helps us to trace the farm produce which means we can know the place from where the raw materials are bought and now a days several customers are keen to know the details of the raw materials used in the final product.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracks batches of cereal crops and Live stock management.
Thus with several techniques, we can merge field data with crop / weather / soil data which are extremely useful both to the farmers and Agribusinesses as well.
Agricultural equipment Manufacturers: Such Agribusinesses are capital-intensive but promising if we can update regularly.
Sensors fitted Irrigation delivery equipments deliver water after analyzing the soil moisture, crop and weather conditions. Agrivi app helps in planning, monitoring and tracking the input status, expenses, weather, extent of pest attacking risk . Module Map provides a simple and efficient management of all types of Agri digital maps.
Mobile Platforms:Digital mobile apps are very useful and Connected Farmer system is very successful .
Connected Farmer system is a public-private partnership between Vodafone, USAID and the nonprofit TechnoServe. It is a mobile product started in East Africa to help farmers work with agribusinesses and better manage their own crops and finances and has proved to be successful. Thousands of farmers across hundreds of kilometers can be connected in a single mobile by Virtual aggregation.
On this mobile platform, Agribusinesses can register farmers, manage contracts, provide extension services, make payments, extend farmer loans and provide SMS receipts. This is of great help to Agribusinesses to identify patterns, efficiencies and best practices.
Tasks to be done on priority basis by Agribusinesses
- Consolidation by going for alliances, joint ventures etc to withstand competition.
- Cost cutting without any compromise on quality.
- Optimize vertical integration by upstream and downstream upgradation.
- Upstream Upgradation includes measures to strengthen R&D and develop new products as per the consumers’taste.The design and shelf life of the product is equally important and should fit well into their life style. For example the products that are targeted to elderly should have easy to open seals as many of them may suffer from arthritis and other ailments.
- Downstream upgradation includes measures to digitalize Agriculture and improve infrastructure so as to supply the raw materials uninterruptedly with the required quality specifications.
- Search for new markets internationally and expand the reach in the present markets by increasing the efficiency of sales channels.
Finally one last word for Agribusinesses :
The Boss for any Agribusiness is the customer himself and the success or winding up of our business depends whether he spends his money on us or on our competitor. Hence take care of your customers and they will take care of your business.