Trending: Mobile Commerce in Agriculture

Agriculture going the Myntra way…

M-commerce in agriculture is the new wave riding on the ICT platform set to herald a revolution in agriculture. M-commerce is all likely to overtake e-commerce with the ever increasing penetration and affordability of smart phones, popularity of mobile apps, convenience of connectivity, speed of data transmission and increasing social influence.

Gradually, m-commerceis seeing the light of the day not only in agriculture, but also making inroads in the allied sectors like poultry, dairy, aquaculture etc.

The success stories of Big Basket, the online grocery shopping site and Myntra, the recently e-commerce to m-commerce transitioned fashion app of Flipkart, are examples of the innovation & the untapped potential which the startups are bringing to the forefront, by revolutionizing the business model in India.

For the agriculture industry, in particular, m-commerce seems a more viable option than e-commerce with the increased penetration of smartphones in rural India vis-à-vis PCs. With GoI’s Digital India program, broadband connectivity in all districts, blocks & villages is just a matter of time to get India connected digitally.

To get started, in the early days, agri m-commerce can tap B2B along with B2C marketplace, followed by gradual integration with C2C marketplace. B2B can tap the urbane customer base for high value agriculture produce or the export market, whilst B2C can target the rural consumer base targeting to sell agri inputs like seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, or farm equipment in the first phase.

In the scope of products for B2C in the agri space, extension services on the product range play a vital role, which currently seems to be a limitation with the online marketplace, especially for the launch of a new product. Entangled with government regulations and product label claims, the space in the agroinputs calls for innovation in the approach. This is to say, conventional marketing tactics are not a way out in this space, it is innovation or the Out of the Box thinking that shall make the cut.

Agri m-commerce aiming to provide last mile service, has paved the way for India Post to generate revenue, as all these startups are eyeing India Post as their Channel partner for customer delivery. Also, Agri MNCs, weighing Indian population base as a huge untapped market, are considering entering the market without setting up a channel. For all such cases, partnering with the m-commerce as a channel seems a lucrative option, as their investment gets limited only to developing and training a field force for extension. At the outset of catching with the technology trend, even the existing Agri input companies in India are looking forward to ride on the digital technology drive and serve the channel and grower base directly through m-commerce. Currently, all such companies do not have sound management techniques to sell directly to the farmers, m-commerce solution coming handy their way.

Enterprises like Agrostar, in agri domain &Aquall in aquaculture are the few early dedicated startup m-commerce initiatives in this space.

Well, it is not easy, but that is what excites, and that is how the sector shall make a leapfrog advancement!


Amrita Chandra

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