Despite a sharp spike in the production of most agricultural commodities over the last decade or so, farmers who have small landholdings face challenges in marketing their produce because of a lack of ability to aggregate the produce at the farm level and limited holding capacities. This is where a startup like Arya.ag comes in handy, linking the farmer community with bulk buyers of agricultural commodities through a robust digital platform.
Set up in 2013, integrated agri-commerce platform Arya.ag is making an attempt to connect farmers with large buyers of agricultural commodities by providing a host of services such as integration of commodities at the farmers’ level, ensuring warehousing financing, providing loans to farmers against crops deposited in warehouses , information on mandi prices and ensuring market linkages under one single digital platform. A host of large corporates including Cargill, Adani, ITC, and Olam have already joined Arya.ag. The company has received $ 87 million of funding since it started to raise funds in 2016 from a host of equity investors such as Light Rock, Asia Impact, Quona Capital and Omnivore Partners.
The platform provides information on about 48 commodities including paddy, wheat, maize, oilseeds and cotton with a footprint across 21 states. The company has a significant presence in Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, spanning 470 districts of the country. The digital platform offers a range of services including weather reports, warehousing facilities, loans against commodities kept in warehouses, besides linking farmers to bulk buyers of agricultural commodities. The company also provides agricultural crop yield estimation prior to harvesting so that millers get access to information about the crop size in advance.
“Currently we have established linkages with 7,00,000 farmers and around 500 farmer producer organisations,” says Prasanna Rao, co-founder and MD, Arya.ag. One of the bigger players of the startup ecosystem in the agricultural sector, Arya.ag focuses on four aspects – aggregation, providing storage and financial solutions and offering market linkages, charging a fee of around 2-5% for the services rendered. It also provides agricultural crop yield estimation prior to harvesting so that millers get access to information about the crop size in advance.
Facilitating trade between buyers and sellers through its platform, the start-up currently has assets under management (AUM), or grains stocks, worth around
15,000 crore in around 10,000 warehouses listed on Arya.ag. Out of these, commodities worth around2, 000 crore were sold through the platform in 2021-22. Through its NBFC arm – arya dhan – it disbursed loans worth
450 crore in 2021-22. It also generated revenue worth 300 crore in 2021-22 from the various services it offers.
“Our focus in 2022-23 would be to sell a large part of the commodities kept in our warehouses,” says Rao. The company aims at facilitating transactions worth more than `7,500 crore through its platform in the current fiscal. It is also offering a unique product, Arya Pay Safe, through which money paid by buyers for the purchase of commodities is kept in an escrow account, with the sellers or farmers receiving the amount when the buyer is satisfied with the quality of the produce delivered.
As part of its expansion plan, the agri startup will be building capability to digitise farms through technology integration, providing end-to-end agri blockchain. The company will soon announce the acquisition of a start-up which specialises in this domain.