Coronavirus: BigHaat is helping farmers across India during lockdown
BigHaat, a farm inputs agritech company, has outlined the set of problems faced by farmers and aims to ensure their survival during the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has affected not just the supply of inputs the farmers need to cultivate produce, but has also thinned out the labour and the market for the crops.
The startup has been receiving a lot of distress calls from farmers for advisory and essential agriculture inputs to manage the crops and avoid loss of crop. While a few others have started planting new horticulture crops, realising the potential shortfall of supply in the future.
"Access to high-quality agriculture inputs and agronomy advisory to farmers is very crucial to the farmers at all stages of the crop. Inaccessibility to the same will lead to distress to the farmers and eventually impacting food inflation and food security," says Sachin Nandwana, Founder of BigHaat.
Below are the key challenges being faced by farmers with the ongoing lockdown:
● Lack of labour due to restricted movement of people, leaving crops unharvested and damaged
● Lack of transportation due to restricted inter- and intra-statemovement of trucks
● Non-availability of agricultural inputs to manage standing crops or plan new crops
"At BigHaat, we have taken steps to ensure safety, which is of utmost importance to us at this hour. We supply the highest quality inputs and maintain the best practices and procedures of hygiene at all our fulfilment centres. We worked closely with the government, CII and FICCI and brought up the issue, the central government responded quite positively and within a short time, they included agriculture inputs under the essential category, and directed state governments also about the same," says Sachin.
BigHaat transforms the pre-harvest crop cycle, enabling farmers to take help of science, data and technology. By digitising the agriculture inputs ecosystem, it is not only solving the toughest problem in the agriculture value-chain, but is also ensuring transparency and efficiency.
After receiving the permission and special category status, the startup started working alongside logistics partners to provide access and ensure the supply of necessary inputs without much delays across the country. They began delivering to 70 percent of pin codes across India, and expect to serve over 500 pin codes with more last-mile delivery partners opening up their operations over the next few days. Due to current lockdown, it might be possible that there could be few delays, but BigHaat is working with various stakeholders in the supply chain ecosystem to address supply and logistics breakdown.
The startup has seen an upsurge in enquiries from farmers, with traffic on the platform surging to almost 2x as compared to the corresponding period last year. Farmers are also aggregating their requirements for the next few weeks and buying in bulk, driving higher average transactions. Farmers are spending more time on the platform with access to knowledge-based videos and blogs that BigHaat agronomy team has been building regularly, and more so in this period.
Several brands have been working with BigHaat to build new initiatives to continue to deliver their products directly to the farmer at this hour and provide support to the farmers in troubled times.
Edited by Kanishk Singh