‘Krishi Plus,’ connects farmers with Agri experts to help farmers go scientific farming.
Krishi Network is an app-based community platform that connects farmers with agricultural experts, merchants, buyers, and financial services. Its co-founder Ashish Mishra said that it has launched its first physical service, ‘Krishi Plus,’ to help farmers move toward scientific farming.
On May 15, the service began in the Muzzafarpur district of Bihar. Agronomists will visit the farmer twice a month. ‘The agronomist will check the farm to see if the crop has any problems. Then he will put them in touch with experts who can help, explain the problem, and give advice,’ Mishra told BusinessLine.
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Keeping track of farm work
The service, which costs money, also tests the soil and gives farmers a tool called Fasal Diary to keep track of everything they do on their farms. ‘The goal of the dairy is for a farmer to do 50 experiments over the course of his life. ‘This will all be written down in the diary for the next generation to read,’ he said.
Basically, a lot of farming knowledge has not been written down. The Fasal Diary will make them want to write down what they know. ‘Farmers have to pay ₹401 a month or ₹1,001 for three months for the service. The quarterly subscription comes with a free soil test and a Fasal Diary,’ said the co-founder of the company.
Farmers have a lot of interest in the service. Every time someone from the company goes to a farm, two or three farmers buy the service. ‘Farmers want us to stay in business. Nearly 60 people have signed up for the paid service,’ he said.
Farmers don’t hesitate at all to sign up for this paid service because they can make anywhere from ₹40,000 to 50,000 when they harvest their crops. ‘Farmers are also business people in the end,’ Mishra said.
What App service offers?
The service is offered in the flood-prone Bhagwani region, where plants like litchis, mangoes, and bananas are grown. ‘Many agri-tech companies are also based in Muzzafarpur, and we are proving ourselves in an area with agri-tech players,’ he said.
Krishi Network’s service is free to use on the app. Within 15 minutes, the app tries to answer all technical questions from farmers. It is working on this with the help of 8,000 experts chosen by the government and Krishi Vigyan Kendras.
‘Through these experts, we give farmers access to knowledge,’ said the co-founder of the company. So far, more than 30 million farmers have downloaded the app, and at least 1 million farmers use it every day.
On January 1, 2018, the app was released in Hindi. Marathi and Punjabi were added last year, and Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, and Telugu were added in March of this year. Soon, Malayalam, Bengali, and Odiya will be added, followed by Assamese and Urdu. ‘By the end of June, we will be available in all of India’s major languages,’ Mishra said.
Krishi Plus is one way that the company tries to make money off of its services. However, there is another way that the company makes money.
‘Recently, we took on Rocket Skills as a client. This company used to offer training courses for farmers. The courses are available online for a reasonable price of 500, and many people have signed up for them. It is now known as Krishi Safal. At least 35% of them finish the course, which is a high number for an online business, Mishra said.
He said that at least 10,000 people have taken the courses so far and that 16,000 people have taken online classes before becoming Krishi Safal.
‘Because these online courses have been so successful, we are now planning a hybrid model that combines online courses with trips to farms. For the hybrid model, we are making maps of the farms,’ Mishra said.
Krishi Network is growing right now because people are telling their friends about it. Farmers in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, and Rajasthan are also helping it grow.
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Farmers Benefit Scheme
The company has about 70 people working for it all over the country, and it also has a way to advertise called the Farmers Benefit Programme. The platform will make it easier for brands to connect directly with farmers and give them benefits that would normally go through a distributor or retailer.
‘This programme is made up of companies that make tractors, seeds, agrochemicals, insurance, and money. ‘Companies that use this platform will also be able to see how their competitors are doing and which of their products is selling well,’ Mishra said.
Krishi Network wants to raise more money. In a month, it hopes to get 500 farmers to join its Plus programme. The company says that its success is due to the fact that Jio was launched in 2017 and made it easier for people in rural areas to get online. The app’s programming began in October 2017.