Efresh Agribusiness Solutions: Enhancing Farm Productivity Manyfold

CIO Vendor Agriculture is one of the key contributors to the Indian economy. However, this sector is largely fragmented into small holdings which are now being organized into farmer producer organizations (FPOs) in order to be more sustainable and profitable thus increasing the profitability of its farmer members. While India is witnessing gradual change and growth in this sector, studies suggest India will be the most populous country across the globe with 1.7 billion people by 2050, making the need to match this number with the amount of food produced imperative, thus requiring the agricultural industry to be bolstered by various emerging technologies. But with the small and marginal Indian farmers, the various technologies implemented will have to be affordable, user friendly and result oriented with a strong focus on improvement in productivity of crops and livestock, efficient use of input received, increase in cropping intensity, diversification towards high value crops and improved price realization by the farmers. In order to achieve the aforementioned goals, the technologies should place emphasis on the seamless distribution of information to farmers on critical parameters such as weather, plant protection, package of practices, farm machinery, warehousing facilities, reduction in post-harvest, transportation and efficient, accessible and user friendly electronic online trading platform.

Committed towards making a positive impact in this domain is eFresh Agribusiness Solutions, headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana, with its innovative concept of establishing the Farmers Development Centers (FDC) across important crop production centers in India, an initiative supported by NABARD. The company has also developed technologies for ease of doing business, and cost reduction in doing business and digitization of data and records for the FPOs. “eFresh has been working with the farmers on the ground through Farmers Development Centres Having understood the challenges, the company has developed a business model, validated the business model and developed user friendly technology solutions for farmer producer organizations,” explains Srihari Kotela, Managing Director at eFresh Agribusiness Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

State-of-the-art Development Centers Streamlining Critical Information
The Farmers Development Centers (FDC) have been set up at farmer’s organizations in important crop production centers that act as a onestop-solution enabling local farming communities to access knowledge, technology, inputs, financial & risk mitigation services, farm machinery hiring services, value chain integrations and market information and linkages, to name a few. It operates within a 20 kilometer radius covering 15 to 20 villages. “As an early entrant with franchise business model for FPOs and Agripreneurs, eFresh will be in a position to maintain its leadership or larger market share through collaborations with leading institutions over a period of time,” informs Srihari Kotela.

Farmer Development Centers are operated as Franchise Model with multiple revenue streams such as sale of agri inputs, product branding, Digital Services comprising bill payments, booking point, recharges and so on, Launch pad for innovations, farm machinery custom hiring and financial & insurance linkage services. “eFresh FDC platform collaborated with agricultural universities, scientific research institutions and other leading players in agriculture is being used by product innovators and technology developers for validation and getting the user feedback from the farmers. The feedback is being used by the agricultural companies and technology developers in their research and development for providing value added services to the farm sector. eFresh also focuses on getting users’ feedback for continual improvement of processes and technologies,” adds Srihari Kotela.

eFresh FDC is listed under one of the four innovations by Green Innovation centre, an initiative of Ministry of Agriculture, Govt of India and German co-operation published by GIZ.

eFresh is listed as one of the nineteen success stories under innovations that changed rural lives published by NABARD and Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.

Assuring Superior Levels of Data Security
He goes on to tell us how every aspect of the offering has been catered to and fulfilled including the security aspect of it. Perfectly understanding the apprehensions stakeholders may have of the copious amount of critical data gathered onto one platform that may be susceptible to data theft by financially motivated hackers, the team at eFresh pays close attention to data security while maintaining, distributing and storing data. In fact, the team is currently evaluating the implementation of international standard Information security management systems ISO 27001.

Harnessing the Power of Advancing Technologies for Improved Farming
Incepted in 2009, eFresh over the years have carved a niche for itself in this sector and commands a significant market presence. The company,
with its team of professionals have conducted various market studies and gained a perfect understanding of the day-to-day operations of farmer producer organizations. Leveraging the information collected, the team at eFresh designed and developed a broad range of various software modules customized to agribusiness such as MyFarmer App, eFarmer Marketplace, eQMS for governance, risk management and compliances, eRetail Software for purchase, sales and inventory management and a Digital platform for Agriculture where the FPO is at liberty to select the appropriate software tools suitable for their operations.

eFresh received the best Agri Technology initiative award during USA and India business summit held in Washington.

eFresh has been working with the farmers on the ground through farmers development centres, having understood the challenges, developed a business model, validated the business model and developed user friendly technology solutions for farmer producer organizations

Unlocking the Value of Data
Explaining the workings of some of the offerings, Srihari Kotela goes on to explain that the MyFarmer app is an android driven Online/Offline application that performs data collection and analysis by mapping Villages, Crop Patterns, Farmers Data, Rural Infrastructure, and Market Linkage Network for use at the FPO. The application is equipped with an Analytics Dashboard that is programmed to display real-time information in a holistic manner. This information generated is then utilised to learn, monitor and evaluate, from country to village level, in order to track the performance and drive program improvement. The user-friendly tool works even in remote and rural areas with limited electricity and Internet connectivity.

The eQMS software has been engineered with the vision of efficiently capturing the documents and data of the FPO / Franchise. Once the records and documents have been successfully digitized, the management of the FPO/Sponsors can avail easy access to this information any time and from anywhere. The eQMS together with eRetail software also proffers remote auditing and view of financials, statutory compliances and inventory management.

”The software provides a complete retail management solution for farmer producer organizations for their day-to-day retail store operations”

eRetail Software for Sale of Agri Inputs is yet another core offering extended by eFresh that offers the below functions:

• The software provides a complete Retail management solution for farmer producer organizations for their day-to-day retail store operations. It delivers a solution that is configurable, comprehensive, flexible and easy to implement.

• This application provides FPOs a real-time view of their operations with centralized control enabling them in effective and faster decision-making. It helps retailers succeed in their business by providing integrated functionalities including Business Intelligence and Analytics.
• The software integrates with QMS module and dashboard analytics module.

In conjunction with this, the e-Commerce Platform at FDCs for Sale of Agri Inputs permits farmers to purchase Products online at Farmer Producer Organizations, thus taking the products at the doorsteps of the farmers.

Gearing up for the Future
With a vision to drive digital transformation and to empower farmers to build sustainable and responsible agriculture, eFresh has catered to a broad spectrum of customers over the years, meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Having contributed towards bringing about significant change in this domain, the company envisions being the market leader by being the most preferred franchise partner for most of the FPOs with strong collaborations with the financial and agribusiness industry. The company aims to extend its reach and arrive at 300 FDC franchises through FPOs across the country located in different agro-climatic zones, raking in a revenue of 160 Crore Rupees within a span of three years.

eFresh has mapped out its future roadmap till 2025 where the company envisages empowering 1000 farmers producer organizations/Agripreneurs with quality agri inputs and technology solutions for crop production, market linkages and introduction of quality management systems in business operations. The company intends to reach a four million farmers base and 10 states.