An app unveiled by a Mumbai-based start-up earlier this year is bringing farmers and dealers of agricultural equipment under one roof. The app, called Siddhi, was launched on July 1 by DestaGlobal, an agritech e-commerce company, which has been working with farmers in the State since 2011.
Siddhartha Chaudhary, chief executive officer of DestaGlobal, said the idea is to ensure the best service to farmers while benefiting the dealers. Mr. Chaudhary claims over 40,000 farmers have used it within a month of its launch.
“Agriculture is the biggest industry in the State and it all begins with farmers buying material, be it seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, or machinery. What we do is to ensure the farmer finds the best dealers in his area and is able to buy material at the lowest prices. Through our app, which is Android-based and available in English and Marathi, we offer material to farmers at discounted rates,” Mr. Choudhary said.
Mangesh Bhuksatwar, a farmer from Hingoli, said the app has got him some good deals and increased his knowledge base. “I was looking for a spray pump to spray pesticide on my soyabean farm but they were all available for ₹2,200 or more. Only through the app did I manage to buy the same pump for ₹1,800.”
Parbhani native Vishwas Ghuge, who grows soyabean and turmeric, said, “I have already shortlisted the equipment that I need to buy. I am just waiting for the water levels to recede so that I can start farming.”
As an incentive, the app awards loyalty points to farmers every time they complete any action, like making a purchase. Farmers can even write reviews for the dealers they bought from, so other farmers can make informed choices. “We also have to ensure that the dealer, who is taking a risk by putting in capital and then selling goods at discounted rates, benefits in some manner. We are getting feedback from dealers that their customer base has increased ever since they had been connected to the app,” Mr. Choudhary said.
Shankar Deshmukh, a dealer from Parbhani, said his client base has increased by almost 30% since he installed the app around a month ago. “If 30 farmers visit my shop after seeing it on the app, at least 10 of them will buy something or the other, especially at the rates offered through the app,” Mr. Deshmukh said.
Another feature the farmers are finding useful is a knowledge section, where farming and related tips from across the State are shared. These tips are collected by DestaGlobal’s teams on the ground, and also shared by other farmers, with options to ‘like’ or ‘share’ the posts. The feature has helped farmers connect with each other, and many farmers have gained knowledge about progressive farming techniques.
According to Mr. Choudhary, the app was downloaded by over 40,000 farmers in July alone. DestaGlobal is working on a similar app for dealers, while planning to make Siddhi available outside the State.
“We have an online dashboard for dealers, where they can interact with each other, share information, and map the current market trends. A dedicated app will help them do the same effectively,” he said.