Farmers contribute tremendously to the Indian economy, but sadly are some of the poorest individuals in the country.
A farmer in my village killed himself because he was cheated with adulterated cotton seeds. He had no option to recover the loss or repay the cost incurred for the crop. I was shocked to learn that for a measly profit of Rs.300, the unknown dealer was willing to sell fake seeds. Such a small profit margin cost the farmer his life. These suicides were echoing across villages, and that disturbed me. So I founded NaPanta, an Agricultural crop management app for a farmer.
Spurious seeds and fertilisers, the lack of information, a poor supply chain and storage facilities are some of the many problems farmers deal with. Filling the information gap would result in a better crop yield, improving the farmer’s economic plight.
Official reports say that since 2013, over 12,000 farmers were victims of suicide which contributed to almost 9% of such deaths all across the country. However, the real number is likely to be much more.
The “NaPanta” team learnt that a majority of these deaths were among small farmers. Even though small farms make up only 44% of the land under cultivation, they are the leading providers of food and nutritional security to the nation.
They have limited access to technology, inputs, credit, capital, and markets. In a recent parliamentary session, the agriculture minister said that by 2030, 91% of total farm holdings would belong to small and marginal farmers.
NaPanta, a farmer mobile application with real-time information
The NaPanta team aims to fix this problem by providing timely and personalised crop accurate information to farmers in their local language.
The free mobile application allows the users (farmers) to track their expenses in an organised manner across purchase of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and farm related equipment.
Farmers can access real-time information on market prices of thousands of agricultural markets and multiple year price trends of hundreds of commodities with just a basic mobile internet connection.
The application is accessible for those without a web connection at all times. In this mode, the app provides crop and pest management techniques for over 100 crops.
They also encourage the farmers to track personalised information about crop management skills, pesticides, insecticides, five-day weather forecast, soil testing laboratories, crop insurance, cold storage and related agri-dealer information in a particular farmer location.
The team already has a community of over 50,000 farmers in the three months it has been live. The app supports Telugu too, giving prompt and personalised information to farmers across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Over the next couple of months, the team plans to roll out instructions in Hindi and Kannada too.
Farmers have welcomed and accepted our solution. NaPanta as an agri-tech startup has been incubating with AIP-ICRISAT and IIIT-Hyderabad.
With the inputs and expenditure data that the farmer provides on NaPanta, claims a 95% accuracy of farm output hence, allowing them to provide advisory services to both the farmer and the government about the gaps between farm output versus the market price.
A step ahead
Currently, the team looks forward to growing through a seed investment which will be used to develop a large-scale farmer training programs at the village-level.
In the next twelve months, the team hope to extend their reach to villages across the Telangana and AP States. Village-level penetration can be achieved through a model farmer training program. The group hopes to train 20,000 local farmers, who in turn can lead and guide other farmers.
This helps the farmers become self-sustainable about the latest trends in agriculture as well increasing levels in the sustainable farming activity. This physical training program will be led with the help of sponsorship from Agri Input Companies, NGOs and like-minded people who support the sustainable farming activity.
Other interesting trends that the app would capture soon would not only be about fertiliser-promoted farming, but also the organic and natural methods of farming.
By adding features to the mobile app and bringing everything that a farmer needs onto one screen, the team has achieved to bring down research time and effort for a farmer.
To download the app, please click here.
Naveen Kumar V
Founder, NaPanta App