Boosting value chain: How B2B marketplaces are reshaping the agri business

Agritech startups are providing farmers better chances of price discovery, more information symmetry and market options, access to alternate channels for selling their produce and more

agri business
Businesses can now find new prospects, customers, suppliers, and address the issues faced by farmers on a day-to-day basis.

Leveraging new-age and innovative technologies, agritech startups are building robust business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces in a bid to strengthen the end-to-end supply chain in agricultural food systems and production. Having faced a major setback during the pandemic, the sector is geared up to capitalise on the rising opportunities by offering advantages such as quality products at reasonable prices and reliable delivery schedules, coupled with necessary standard credit terms.
Another benefit that rapid digitisation has introduced is the power to build a strong and well-connected network. Businesses can now find new prospects, customers, suppliers, and address the issues faced by farmers on a day-to-day basis. Farmers can now source correct information, techniques, and efficiencies from their networks both for pre-harvest applications and also post-harvest requirements. Furthermore, these markets offer a wide avenue for purchase and sales.

“It is critical that we help increase incomes of participants in the agri ecosystem – from farmers, farmer groups/FPOs to players who are enabling better value discovery for farmers,” says Subhadeep Sanyal, partner at Omnivore, an impact venture capital firm. “That is exactly what numerous B2B agritech startups are focusing on by providing farmers better chances of price discovery, more information symmetry and market options, access to alternate channels for selling their produce, finance, logistics, etc.” Omnivore has backed over 35 startups since 2011 and currently manages approximately $132 mn across two funds.

Take for instance, Bijak, a B2B marketplace for agricultural commodities, that enables traders, wholesalers and food processors to determine counterparties, get better pricing, and access working capital. The startup works for accountability in the agricultural value chain through a buyer/seller rating system that’s based on real-time transaction data. Users on the platform can leverage those ratings to trade with reliable counterparties. The app is used across 1,000 regions in 29 states and UTs, has over 30,000 registered users and oversees trade in over 100 commodities.

“Our conviction of building a full-stack B2B marketplace with a strong farmer-first approach makes DeHaat unique and hence a market leader,” says Shashank Kumar, the co-founder & CEO of this homegrown, full-stack agritech company. It uses AI-enabled technologies to streamline the supply-chain and bring in production efficiencies. “The current milestone of working with one million Indian farmers and 1,000+ agribusinesses across eight states is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the opportunity we foresee. Hence our annual growth trajectory of 4-5x is going to continue,” says Kumar. DeHaat offers services ranging from distribution of high-quality agricultural inputs and customised farm advisory to access to financial services and market linkages to sell the produce.

Then, there is AgNext that provides deep-tech enabled solutions for food quality assessment, monitoring, and management. The company has innovated full-stack solutions, based on a unique integration of adaptive hardware, integrated software, and data analytics. “AgNext Technologies was established in 2016 to ensure ‘Quality food for Billions’ by building deep-tech solutions that are tailored to market-specific needs,” says Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, the founder and CEO of this fast-growing B2B marketplace. “We have innovated AI-enabled solutions for instant food quality assessment to eliminate manual errors, testing delays, and subjectivity, and drive fairer price realisation in the food value chains,” he adds.

Agrim is a pandemic-born company that is building what it claims to be the “largest digital platform for India’s $50- billion Indian agri-inputs industry by connecting retailers directly with manufacturers. This B2B marketplace currently works across 500 districts with over 2,500 manufacturers and 170,000 retailers. “We have taken a customer-first approach to build the marketplace,” says Mukul Garg, co-founder and CEO, Agrim. “Today, we have 100k+ retailers on the platform. Our retailers benefit from discovering a wide range of quality agri-input products at competitive prices and the convenience of doorstep delivery through our alternative channel.”

The solutions that a digital marketplace like ReshaMandi provides do not falter where conventional setups do, says Mayank Tiwari, the company’ s founder and CEO. ReshaMandi is a large and fast-growing B2B marketplace digitising the natural fibre supply chain. It provides a full-stack digital ecosystem in the form of a super app, offering value-added services such as quality testing, technical advisory, high-quality inputs, and market linkages. ReshaMandi has onboarded more than 35,000 small businesses spanning farmers, small and medium enterprise manufacturers, and retailers. The startup’s processes have helped increase small business incomes by 35-55% and pushed the use of indigenous raw silk dramatically, claims Tiwari.

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First published on: 24-03-2022 at 08:13 IST