Soil-to-Shelf Tech Platform Helping Build Sustainable Food Supply Chains Around the World
NEW DEHLI, India – Indian social enterprise eKutir has joined Business Call to Action with a commitment to improve the livelihoods of 1 million farmers in five countries by helping them access the tools they need to increase production – and thus profit – through its farmer-centric e-platform Blooom by 2022. It also aims to create 1,100 economic opportunities as Blooom Entrepreneurs for rural women and men.
Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Founded in 2009, eKutir develops innovative products and services to improve the livelihoods of people at the Base of the Economic Pyramid (BoP). The company recognised that most smallholder farmers faced three core challenges: they need tools to farm but either don’t know what to buy or can’t access them; they need money to buy the tools but can’t access credit; or they don’t know what grows and sells effectively in local and global markets.
eKutir realised that these challenges could be attributed to either a lack of knowledge about good agricultural practices or how to adopt new technologies; high risk and credit exposure inhibiting farmers from accessing new products and services; or a lack of access to markets. Setting out to help farmers overcome these challenges, they designed a state-of-the-art data-driven, farmer-centric e-platform, Blooom.
It is an integrated platform connecting input companies and buyers to farmers through an organised channel of Blooom Entrepreneurs. Blooom captures farmer and farm information, transactional data and builds upon it to curate insights for input companies, credit and insurance agencies.
“The objective is to include every stakeholder in agri value chain to support smallholder farmers by synthesising agricultural, behavioural and data science, together,” said eKutir CEO Suvankar Mishra.
“We aim to organize the stakeholders in a broken agriculture value chain and curate an ecosystem, driven by humans and enabled by technology. The ubiquity of mobile telephone and network present an opportunity to help farmers leapfrog as beneficiaries of technology innovations.”
eKutir has also developed an entrepreneurship model where digitally trained Blooom entrepreneurs support groups of smallholder farmers in farm soil-testing, fertilizers, seeds and crop nutrient and pest management best practices recommendations, inputs access and market access. Blooom entrepreneurs are selected, hired, and trained by eKutir to use software applications to capture, manage, and monitor a variety of data and transactions. In addition, they receive training in entrepreneurship and social business, soil testing, supply of seeds with proper cultivation, linking buyers to markets, and daily market price.
A Blooom Entrepreneur could be a progressive farmer embedded within our channel partners – farmer collectives. The inherent social network between the progressive farmer and other farmer members helps Blooom to exponentially grow as each Blooom Entrepreneur can manage 200 farmers Blooom is currently active in India, Nepal, Haiti and has plans to venture into Kenya, Uganda, Peru and Philippines to reach 1 Million transacting farmers by 2022. Blooom will measure its progress with a single key result – transacting farmers; as this would indicate the actual usage of inputs, crop sales and advisory uptake; thereby curating an enriched transactional platform to build significant insights on.
Since launching Blooom in Jan 2019, 100 Blooom Entrepreneurs with 10,000+ farmers are using to transact with input companies and sell crops to buyers.
“eKutir is helping to alleviate poverty among smallholder farmers through an innovative distribution network of digitally-trained entrepreneurs, market linkages, technology, and data. This enables them to be faster, more efficient, and to have greater impact,” said acting Head of BCtA Sahba Sobhani.
The eKutir business model is inclusive by nature, by including all the stakeholders across the value chain. eKutir’s legacy of work has impacted 70,000+ smallholder farmers. With the launch of its flagship brand – Blooom, eKutir is set an audacious goal and is in mission to democratise the future of farming.
For further information
BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA)
Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org.
eKutir has led the way in developing data-driven, networked technologies to solve complex societal challenges. They are known for co-designing solutions with isolated and marginalized communities. Their approach has made them effective in addressing intractable issues that other technological solutions before them had been unable to resolve.