Agritech start-up Aqgromalin, based in Chennai, has developed ‘ready to deploy micro-farms’ that can be set up with very little area and capital.
Aqgromalin, which recently received ₹ 5.5 crores in early funding from Zephyr Peacock India Growth Fund, a provider of growth capital to Indian start-ups, also sells day-old chicks to farmers via its app AQAI. The software assists poultry and animal husbandry farmers in obtaining high-quality inputs.
‘We’ve discovered that ready-to-use micro-farms are a great way for women farmers to supplement their household income. We have seen more farmers take this up in addition to their other businesses because the financial and space requirements are low,’ says Prasanna Manogaran, the firm’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder. Furthermore, it is a labor-intensive endeavor that can be easily implemented.
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Aqgromalin is involved in assisting farmers to diversify into animal husbandry and aquaculture segments and has received funding from IndigramLabs Foundation and other notable angels from the Agri start-up ecosystem, in the last round. He claims that these ready-to-use micro-farms have come in handy for such purposes.
CL Bharani co-founded the company with Manogaran two years ago, seeing it as a farm-to-fork model that would bring farmers closer to customers and companies. ‘However, once we began working with a large number of farmers, we realized that there were enormous areas where we could effectively contribute to raising farmer income,’ says the Aqgromalin CEO, who founded the edtech firm Axion in 2008.
AQAI App assist farmers
According to Manogaran, the AQAI app can assist farmers in ordering a variety of animal husbandry input products. ‘The business component of the app (for trading) provides hygienically grown food to traders, poultry meat outlets, and exporters.’
Animal husbandry and aquaculture are underserved and extremely fragmented in India.’Livestock farmers confront a number of challenges, including a scarcity of high-quality inputs, a scarcity of high-quality feed, and a lack of market access. ‘At Aqgromalin, we are developing a one-stop end-to-end solutions platform to assist farmers in overcoming these challenges,’ Manogaran explains.
The value chain for livestock agricultural activities in the country is fragmented and lacks transparency, which is one of the main reasons for the start-interest up’s in this area. Poultry farming, cow farming, aquaculture, and insect farming are among the activities.
‘Indian livestock producers confront difficulties in obtaining inputs and selling their outputs, resulting in unpredictably low incomes. Aqgromalin is leading the way in providing tech-enabled services to this industry. According to the company’s CEO, ‘the company delivers tech-driven solutions to farmers to help supplement their agricultural income by organizing the supply of input and selling output.’
Pay special attention to backyard poultry
Through a full stack tech solution, Aqgromalin works both upstream and downstream of the farm gate. ‘Using the AQAI app, farmers can order high-quality inputs and have them delivered at their farmgate. Our downstream trading platform allows farmers to sell their produce after harvest through our network of dealers, retailers (meat and seafood stalls), and exporters,’ he explains.
Backyard poultry (desi breeds), freshwater and brackish water aquaculture, goat, and sheep are the keys focus of the Chennai-based company.
Aqgromalin has also raised close to ₹ 2 crores from certain angel investors in West Asia, in addition to the recent finance. ‘For an entrepreneur, having external investors believe in your vision and become a part of the journey is always exciting,’ Manogaran added.
Poultry farming, according to the start-creator, up’s has become ‘one of the most profitable industries today’ due to increased demand for protein-rich poultry meat and related goods.
The fastest-growing industry
‘Some even consider it the Indian economy’s fastest-growing sector. Even throughout Covid, the spirit of chicken farming was so strong that it continued to develop. With a growth rate of 16-17 percent, it is the fastest-growing sector. ‘On the basis of analysis,’ Manogaran says.
Farmers are gaining access to desi fowl, which have a high market value because of their higher output and earnings. ‘Our AQAI app is expediting the marketing option of these poultry sector birds,’ he added, adding that market mood is improving due to dietary benefits.
‘Desi poultry has tremendous potential to boost farmer incomes across the country. We believe that with the correct technology and supply chain infrastructure, the market for these products may grow quickly across the country. ‘AQAI is at the front of this upheaval,’ Manogaran stated.
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Other promising industries include aquaculture, goats, sheep, freshwater and brackish water shrimp, and mud crabs. ‘Aquaculture is an excellent type of farming since it provides various benefits such as enhanced food production, restoration of threatened and endangered species populations, and habitat restoration. The Aqgromalin creator stated, ‘It is both commercially and environmentally advantageous.’