जब Technology met Science – Our journey in launching Kheti Buddy!
Around January 2018, I had written this article (Read Here) talking about knowing our farmer and the challenges today’s agriculture industry faces. The year 2018 marked my two decades in the technology space, and almost 8 years as an investor in agri space through my wife’s company Aaria Biolife. I was watching the sector from a distance, while still going about my job of implementing cloud-based business applications around the globe. Monday to Friday working with some of the leading organizations, learning about their business process challenges and solving them through technology, was what my days comprised of. Weekends were spent driving wifey around rural Maharashtra as she went about her mission – meeting farmers, explaining them the ills of using chemical pesticides and urging them to shift to organic inputs. San Francisco to Satara, London to Latur and Malmo to Malshiras was becoming a routine for me. Initially I enjoyed this, thinking I am having best of both worlds but soon the feeling that technology needs to dig deep and reach out to the grassroot level of agriculture where it can be used the most, started to take roots. There seemed to be a huge lacuna, where awareness of science behind farming practices and technology were concerned, in this sector. That’s when the journey of “Technology meeting Science” started.
Our intent was technology enabled agriculture. Was there a way, to reach out to more farmers & help them? More importantly, is there a way we could play a small role in taking the science of agriculture to our farmers through technology?
This thought kept lingering in my mind, and then in one of my ERP implementations while implementing a batch tracking process for one of the largest FMCG in the world, my eureka moment arrived. Everything we consume has a bar code, except crop produce. We insist on tracing whatever we use and consume but not our food! Sometimes the obvious is not the obvious, and when I dug deeper, I realized that 90% of us don’t know where our veggies comes from and we are ok with it! Researcher in me then got inquisitive and on exploring a little more I was startled to know that food traceability while being one of the biggest issues, is the least addressed. A quick scan made me realize that several agtech startups as well as large corporations have already begun working on it and that’s when I decided that tantra gyan has to meet Kheti gyan and my journey to launch an agtech platform commenced.
Mid 2018, the idea was clear, we needed an end to end agtech platform which addresses the core issues – improve the quality of farm produce, build traceability of it’s source and even what goes into growing it. Having a farmer network of 30,000+ farmers through our agri input business meant we definitely had a base to start with. My 8 years of investing in the venture had given me a good exposure on the Agri value chain. The multilayered food value chain operating with different skills sets at different levels initially appeared to have loopholes in them. But with a closer look, we realized that it’s a well-oiled machinery and the solution lied not in replacing or removing its components which could lead to repulsion but enhance their efficiency through technology enablement. So, the genesis was clear, we have to create a platform where each member of the Agri value chain benefits by using the platform.
This gave birth to Kheti Buddy. A platform whose core purpose is to help produce food in the most optimum way, in addition to uplifting the entire eco system.
But wait, there’s more. What about you and me, the urban folks? Can we also play our part in the safe food drive? Well, why not… We too can be a part, simply by growing some food at home. That’s where our gardening platform steps in. It helps each one of us to build our own small green patch at home. Did you know that almost 50% or even more of the veggies which you consume can be grown at home? Did you also know that you can do it in a space of 10×10 Ft?
When we built the platform, we were clear, we don’t want to build it in isolation, so we signed up 5000+ farmers and 100+ home growers who were part of our testing team giving us feedback in the last 6 months during our beta. We always wanted our end users to be at the core, guiding the application their way!
This is where it has finally led us… Here we are… Today June 5th on World environment day, we will be launching the first 3 products from our Khetibuddy platform.
KhetiBuddy Farm: This is a free mobile app for the farmer, which will help focus on improving farming habits. We believe it’s the process which is more important along with the result. Thousands of solutions available in the market promise increased yield in reduced cost, but that’s the end result. We want to focus more on the process. 1% better everyday with every farm practice. KhetiBuddy Farm focusses on what to do, how to do and when to do and purely believes in the compounding benefits of improving farming habits. Click here for more info.
KhetiBuddy Home : All of you, who wanted to start growing food at home but did not know how, this mobile app is for you. Select your space, the veggies you want to grow and the app will guide you step by step on what to do. You need to spend only 15-20 mins every day and you can have fresh food from your backyard. Idea is to encourage the thrill of growing something, and if you get stuck, you have our gardeners to help you. A 90 day free trial from every gardening enthusiasts starts today aided with gardening as a service initially in Pune. You can read more about it here.
KhetiBuddy Enterpise: For organizations who are in the business of agriculture and interact with farmers or home growers, this is where our B2C meets B2B. If you are in an agri-business and want to manage a group of farmers, be it an export house, retailer, FPO, KVK, or any organization which deals with farmers, we have an enterprise platform which adds tremendous value in deciphering your farm data the way you want, depending on your role in the Agri value chain. What’s more? its already integrated with world’s no.1 cloud ERP Oracle NetSuite and India’s most popular SAAS solution-Zoho. More details on this link.
Artificial intelligence can only add value when it is applied in a way such that it is compatible with farmer intelligence. Understand deeply and explain simply has thus been our mantra while designing this platform.
With more than 125 billion devices to be connected to the internet and 580 million farmers, as the universe and millions of home growers, our journey starts tomorrow jab technology meets science !
जब साथ हो खेतीबडी तो आसान हो खेतीबाड़ी !!