The internet has played a major role in how we consume various products today. It helps to democratise the process and allows more businesses to interact directly with their customers. Rising internet use, social media platforms and higher penetration of smartphones means everyone can have a piece of the pie! (Krishna, 2017) Its relevance in the India agricultural sector is highly significant, especially for small to medium farmers. By eliminating the middle-man and the costs involved, these farmers are able to retain a higher percentage of their hard-earned money, establish themselves with little outside help and take charge of their value building process. These models also benefit consumers because they can access a wide variety of products from the comfort of their home and contribute directly to the farmers income. (FICCI, 2017)
Even though it is not main-stream yet, e-commerce holds a lot of potential in this country: It can help distribute revenue to those that actually work for it. (Patel, 2018) Sira Organics was established with this goal in mind, helping Indian organic farmers regain food sovereignty by helping them access a growing market. Through the power of e-commerce, we hope to achieve the following benefits:
- Build valuable relationships between farmers and consumers
Farm to Fork platforms allow farmers greater control over the value building process. (FMiD, 2018) Farmers can take ownership over their products and ensure that the needs of the customer are met. By eliminating the role of middlemen that buy their produce, these organic farmers can interact directly with the customers and build lasting relationships through a process of trust and good service. These customers can then become recurring, and contribute to the farmer’s regular income.
- Make the supply chain more transparent
Agri e-commerce can disrupt traditional value chains, which involve multiple intermediaries. (Joiner and Okeleke, 2019) B2C models however, allow for customers to have a direct link to the supplier and all the information involved in procuring these goods. Access to this information can help reduce inefficiencies in the distribution stage, bypass expensive middlemen and deliver fresher produce. (Joiner and Okeleke, 2019) This can also help the farmer build his/her personal brand better, rather than relying on a middleman to sell his/her products along with so many others.
- Expand the customer base
Farmers will have access to a wider audience through online B2C models. Currently, e-commerce only accounts for 10% of Indian agrobusiness but there is a lot of scope to grow. (Patel, 2018) In India, local stores, middlemen and physical inventory are highly relevant to agricultural sales, but their reach is geographically limited. With organic products especially, national or even international reach can help the farmer to sell to a wider variety of people. In doing so, they have more control over what they sell and how much money they can make. By expanding their reach, they can also collaborate with potential partners.
- Enable diversification of products
In the grand scheme of things, organic food is still a niche activity. This is because of the extra amount of work and money that it requires to produce good quality food and gain certification for their produce. If food sovereignty can be brought back to these farmers, they will have a greater chance of diversifying their products and offer more organic food to the consumers. Overall, a win-win situation for everybody!
- Improve efficiency and grow revenue through data analysis
By leveraging technology and the data collected through these platforms, farmers can get real-time information on what the consumers are looking for and cater to their needs accordingly. Incorporating this data into the decision making process can limit inventory costs, and facilitate better planning for future harvests. (Cornelisse, 2020) By following market trends, farmers can limit the amount of produce that is wasted and increase their earnings from each harvest.
- Incentivize organic farming
E-commerce platforms like Sira will ensure that the minimum entry barrier for organic products is met so that the consumer is satisfied. Farmers will then be encouraged to continue with their organic practices if there is a regular demand for their products. Quality checks and certifications are expensive, and by improving the farmers market reach, they can invest more in their farm. In turn, they are incentivized to continue taking care of their land and deliver high-quality products.
We are looking to disrupt the way things are being done currently. We want to ensure that those who work the hardest, are the ones who benefit the most. We are extremely passionate about our goal to help organic Indian farmers regain their food sovereignty and we hope you will join us on our journey!
- Cornelisse, Sarah. “E-Commerce for Ag Business: Advantages and Challenges.” PennState Extension, 18 May 2020.
- Krishna, Prabodh. “E-Commerce In Agriculture Marketing- A New Frontier.” BW Businessworld, 2017. http://businessworld.in/article/E-Commerce-In-Agriculture-Marketing-A-New-Frontier/04-10-2017-127543. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.
- Patel, Mayank. Use of E-Commerce in Agriculture: Scope and Challenges. MBA (2nd Semester). 10 March 2018.
- FMiD. 6 Ways Agri-Marketing Combines B2B and B2C Tactics. https://blog.farmmarketid.com/blog/combining-b2b-b2c-tactics. 17 April 2017. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.
- Joiner, James, and Kenechi Okeleke. E-Commerce in Agriculture: New Business Models for Smallholders’ Inclusion into the Formal Economy. GSMA, 2019.
- FICCI. Agricultural Marketing: An Overview and Way Forward. 7 July 2017.