How Is Technology Pivotal In Strengthening FPOs?
India is primarily an agriculture-based economy, employing nearly 50% of the country’s workforce and contributing nearly 17% to India’s gross domestic product (GDP). As the largest producer of rice, wheat, pulses, spices, and spice products, and the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in globally, India contributes at least 7% of the world’s total agricultural output, second only after China. Making these numbers even more remarkable is the fact that approximately 86% of the country’s farmlands are cultivated by small and marginal farmers, each with a land area of less than 2 hectares. Farm holdings in India are thus severely fragmented and scattered, and pose a mighty challenge to the government with respect to implementing policies and initiatives to improve the livelihood and income of these farmers.
To address this and numerous other challenges in the agriculture sector, the collectivization of these small and marginal farmers into farmer producer organisations (FPOs) is being recognised as a viable and an effective solution to establish an avenue for these producers to enhance agricultural productivity and earn the right value for their produce. An FPO plays a significant role in mobilising individual farmers under a structured system of their own to ensure better income and an enhanced livelihood for themselves as a result of economies of scale. The farmers’ collective production and marketing strength also helps them negotiate better prices for bulk purchase of produce, while also doing away with the need for a middleman. In addition to the above, such producer organisations make it easy for government bodies and other agri-based organisations to educate farmers about scientific farm practices that are much in need today, to promote adoption of modern technology, and to provide adequate infrastructure for farming and marketing needs.
How Is Technology An Enabler of Better Management, Increased Efficiency, and Enhanced Productivity In FPOs?
In recent years, the adoption of agri-technology has contributed immensely to the strengthening FPOs, and has helped them solve diverse challenges in relation to market linkages, access to financial services, internal management of members, and achieve higher farm productivity. The magnitude of farmers united under a single umbrella has further eased the adoption of technology to realise increased efficiency and enhanced productivity within the FPO.
A global provider of innovative AI/ML-powered AgTech solutions, CropIn collaborates with FPOs to empower farmers with technology-based solutions to improve access to technical know-how on crop planning and management, agri inputs, post-harvest management, value addition, credit, and market linkages to ensure self-sustainability and profitability. CropIn’s experienced implementation team provides field staff appointed by FPOs with adequate training and development to help farmers transition from manual process to one that is digitally enabled, so that their adoption of technology is smooth and enduring.
Some of the ICT-enabled value-added services that CropIn offers are as follows.
A centralised digital platform for effective management of resources:
CropIn provides a centralised platform for FPOs to create and maintain a complete digital database of farmers along with land and crop profile digitisation, and accounting of financial transactions within the FPOs. This also provides government entities such as NABARD and SFAC (Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium) with an integrated platform to monitor and evaluate the performance of the FPOs promoted by them. Additionally, this process of digitising enables better data management to derive valuable insights.
Implementation of climate-resilient practices from sowing till harvest:
CropIn facilitates FPOs to configure expert-recommended advisory for the best package of practices for climate-smart and sustainable agriculture. This advisory enables farmers to:
- Sow the best quality seeds that are resilient to local pests and diseases
- Execute farming activities such as seed and land preparation, sowing, irrigation, and crop protection at the right intervals based on weather forecasts
- Apply the most appropriate and the correct quantity of crop chemicals exactly when required
- Forecast and schedule a more fruitful harvest
Agronomy services to improve yield while mitigating crop loss:
CropIn furnishes the right platform to provide agro-technical and agronomic knowledge that enables farmers to improve yield and reduce crop loss caused due to pests, diseases, and weather-related stress. The field staff can use the mobile application to send pictures of pest infestation or crop disease, for which relevant crop protection advisories will be issued almost immediately.
Post-harvest management services for end-to-end traceability:
By digitising various processes in the supply chain, CropIn’s platform empowers FPOs to remotely track the flow of their produce from farm to shelf, and facilitates the monitoring of processes like grading, cleaning, sorting and packaging. This not just allows complete traceability of the produce along the supply chain but also helps reduce wastage during its movement. By labelling the packaged produce with unique QR code, consumers can also trace it back to the farm where it was produced, along with farmer details, reports on crop cultivation processes and QA reports. This traceability feature becomes an added advantage for FPOs that export to international markets, as it helps them create a credible brand value and build trust with the traders and consumers alike.
Lucrative market linkages secured through yield prediction:
Utilising the big data captured at farm level in addition to periodic weather forecasts and satellite-imagery-based data, CropIn enables farmers to arrive at a real-time yield prediction, which can be leveraged to engage with buyers ahead of harvest and encourage them to procure the produce directly from the FPO at the right time. Further, the FPO can also manage order and inventory information at district level, track movement of Stocks and Sales, and generate the performance trend at SKU, people and district levels.
Securing hasslefree financial services with minimum paperwork:
Now that profiling and digitising of FPO members has been achieved using CropIn’s cloud platform, the process of applying for credit and other financial services such as insurance and risk mitigation is made simple and straightforward.
Dissemination of critical information regarding government schemes and initiatives:
CropIn’s platform can be configured to communicate vital information to farmers with respect to the most recent news and announcements from the government that benefit the FPO and its farmers.
CropIn is making great strides in its efforts to empower smallholder farmers with agri-technology to lighten their biggest burdens and make agriculture less challenging than it already is. To explore our many one-of-a-kind offerings to FPOs, get in touch with us today!
Originally published at www.cropin.com.