New app to connect farmers with buyers

ByPriyanka Sahoo, Mumbai
Feb 23, 2020 11:59 PM IST

Imagine every time you buy a vegetable or a fruit, on your smartphone you can get details of who produced it, at what cost and the quality certificates passed, and at the same time the farmer also gets to know how much of his produce has been sold and at what price.

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To ensure fair compensation to the farmers, a start-up incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, has built a mobile application that will enable them to connect with the consumer and vice versa. The application will provide information about fruits, vegetables, grains and other farm produce sold in retail stores.

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The application, AgroTrust, a blockchain technology product from EmerTech Innovations, was built in collaboration with Sahyadri Farmer Producer Company Limited in Nashik. It is aimed at bringing in transparency in pricing and eliminating exploitation of farmers by middlemen. Blockchain technology is a transparent and secure cloud-based ledger that stores a growing list of information.

On February 14, EmerTech introduced the application to representatives of around 50 farmer collectives from across Maharashtra, at an event in Mumbai. On this platform, farmers can view how much of their crop has been sold and at what rate.

Soon, a similar platform for consumers will be launched where buyers can scan a QR code on the pack using their smartphones to get details on the farmer, the production cost, pesticides or fertilisers used and the quality certificates received. EmerTech and Sahyadri Agro Retails Limited will soon launch retail stores in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik where products will carry QR codes. Currently, EmerTech is working with 8,000 farmers. “Using our platform, farmers can engage with each other, share best practices and also negotiate price of the crop,” said Gaurav Somwanshi, co-founder of EmerTech. “We have identified three major problems that Indian farmers face. The biggest of them is exploitation by middlemen,” said Somwanshi.

Vilas Shinde, director of Sahyadri Farmer Producer Company Limited, said, “In the traditional agriculture ecosystem, there are many layers between the farmer and the retail consumer.” When asked if farmers possess the skills to use this technology, Shinde said: “Farmers will adapt to the technology as they have adapted to smartphones.”

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