If you think that you need massive infrastructure and wealth support to revolutionize agriculture in India, then this venture might make you think again. Raghu Kanchustambham is the founder & CEO of Conceptwaves with his new mobile innovation ‘Livelihood 360’- The solution, with support from NAANDI foundation and SAMTFMACS, has been adopted by over 12,000 farmers across 658 villages in the Araku Valley region in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The Name says it all
Livelihood 360 is a holistic platform supporting whole livelihood associated with the villages. It’s an idea to build the rural ERP which would encompass practically anything, right from farmgate procurement (and other vital information of the farmers) to the education records to the drinking water facility and all.
Before the innovation, the situation was pretty different with the coffee plantation farmers. Trucks traveled from place to place to collect the coffee produce, used to dump the same at the central warehouse and then after a month’s time the commercials were settled for the farmers. Livelihood 360 crafted and formulated the solution addressing all major pain points associated with the problem :
1. 650 villages, over 12000 farmers - The reach of the solution has to be wide and given over 70% of mobile penetration in India (Source - TRAI data), nothing seemed as good as an in-built mobile application.
2. Hilly Region - Network connectivity is a major issue in the valley and hence the application has to be efficient enough to work with minimum data transfer requirements.
3. Truck drivers are the only people interacting with the farmers - That calls for the solution to be extremely simple and easy to understand.
4. Cost Barrier - With the cost (and of course the penetration) Smartphone was no realistic solution and hence the cheapest handset (worth <$20) was chosen and a J2ME application was written for the same.
Based on the crop production, the farmer give the code to the truck driver which is then synced at the backend on amazon cloud. This ensures that the CPU (Central Processing unit) is aware of the overall production well in advance and they can plan accordingly. Also, farmers payments are made based on crop estimation as compared to a month long reconciling period previously. “Essentially speaking, we just brought the mobile technology and married it to the cloud to achieve our end product” mentioned Raghu.
Livelihood 360 has impacted positively on multiple dimensions of the coffee plantation in Araku Valley region and plans to replicate the same for other crops as well. To name a few:
1. Reduced collection-payouts cycle time (Over 875 tonnes of produce processed / 1 month reconciliation cycle reduced to 24 hours)
2. Research metrics available to understand dependencies between coffee quality and production parameters
3. Accelerated organic certification (1 week preparation time slashed to a few clicks) and better capacity planning.
4. Accurate yield estimation (improved forecasting accuracy to 80%)
Team Livelihood 360 is extremely clear in this regard and has following targets to achieve in near future:
1. Take the solution to more customers/customers and expanding it for more crops.
2. Finding right implementation partners- Collaboration with NAANDI has been of immense help till date and more relevant partners will further the impact.
3. Livelihood 360 is not about merely coffee & pepper, the system has much more potential. It can be customized to any specific issues with similar challenges.
4. Since a lot of details about farmers, BoP are being tracked the framework can be used to add many more services.
NSIH 2013 Experience & Expectations
“Winning NSIH 2013 in multi-stake holders has been a great validation and a matter of pride for our team. The platform has given us much needed visibility which in turn got us applauded for the initiative.” - shared Raghu on his first reactions on winning NSIH 2013 awards few months back.
There is tremendous scope of mobile technology in future for social good, in fact it’s one of the only ways to penetrate this space. Acceptance of mobile has increased to a great extent now and the coupling of mobile technology with cloud computing would do wonders. Livelihood 360, with their work have proven this and believes that the rural broadband will add more interesting landscape to the story.
About Conceptwaves: ConceptWaves has successfully deployed its solution to serve multi geography education programs managed by large NGOs, Vocational training institutes and private players. Through its innovative solutions, the company with Naandi Foundation is also serving thousands of farmers in AP.
Note: YourStory is the Media Partner for NASSCOM Social Innovation Honors 2013