Inspired by Uber, the startup firm, EM3 AgriServices, is working to provide farm machinery to rural farmers who can’t afford to purchase it.
The company says its goal is give access to rural and poor farmers to specialized equipment that would help to improve their earnings. The platform would enable these farms to use newer technology in an efficient and affordable manner through a network of farm centers.
Rohtash Mal, EM3 founder and managing director, says the average Indian farm holdings are 1% compared to the U.S. As a result, most rural farmers aren’t able to afford even basic mechanization.
Mal said that the company works with farmers who own equipment like tractors, harvesters and other mechanical implements by allowing them to rent out their assets to help pay off the purchase or generate additional revenue. Working on a for-profit business model, farmers with limited capital and residing in remote regions can get access to implements on a pay-as-you-use basis on either an hourly or acreage pricing, Mal added.
The centers are equipped to handle a comprehensive range of basic and precision farming operations throughout the entire crop production cycle by leveraging internet technology, mobile telecom services, financial services and cloud technologies.
Mal said that farm mechanization is expected to cut cultivation cost by 25% and raise productivity by 20% and will be critical in boosting farmers’ income. According to McKinsey estimates, this will be a $120 billion opportunity as over 92% of India is in need of mechanization.
Apart from this, EM3 has a technical support partnerships for its tractors and harvesters with John Deere, satellite-based technologies partnership with Trimble, a leading provider of advanced location-based navigation and online platform to sell farmers products with ITC’s agri-business division.
The company was also invited to present its business model to Bill Gates, whose foundation has committed major funds to boost yields and incomes of millions of small farmers in developing countries of Africa and Asia. The startup recently partnered with the Rajasthan state to set up 300 centers that provide agricultural equipment and services on a pay-for-use basis.
The company is competing with FarMart, Gold Farm and Trringo, a subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra that offer operating similar services. The company claims to serve over 8,000 farmers with 25,000 acres under operation.
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