This entrepreneur is revolutionising the way people buy and sell agri-lands
“I come from a family that relies on agricultural land for livelihood. When my father tried to sell an agri-land parcel, he couldn't find buyers irrespective of high intrinsic value. That’s when the idea struck to leverage the power of online marketplace to connect buyers and sellers,” says Kamesh Mupparaju, CEO and Founder of SFarmsIndia, the country’s first agricultural land marketplace.
Kamesh foundedin 2018 with an objective to connect farm landowners with potential buyers. For buyers and sellers of agri-land to avail complete benefits, SFarmsIndia also uses the information contributed by platform users to build AI models predicting the right land price based on a host of variables. “The price of agricultural lands is on the rise in India. Consequently, there is a natural geographical gap between buyers and sellers. While the sellers are located primarily in villages, the buyers are in towns and cities of India. We aim to solve the problem of access to buyers for sellers and vice-versa.”
Digitisation revolutionised the real estate sector. While there are several online platforms to buy/sell residential and commercial properties, agri-realty has remained largely untapped. Although many agri-land transactions take place daily, 95 percent of them are still happening through the middleman. However, with the internet reaching even the remotest of areas, there is a clear shift in sight for the agri-realty sector.
Innovative agri-realty solutions
As an early mover in the segment, Kamesh strongly believes that agri-realty has the potential to transform the Indian agricultural landscape. With a change in consumer behaviour and a rising inclination towards natural products, individuals especially HNIs choose farm fresh food as a healthy alternative which is one of the drivers of demand for agri-lands.
SFarmsIndia offers an agri-land discovery platform that allows prospective sellers to register on the website and submit their land listing without any charges. All you have to do is fill in relevant details, add images or simply share the information with an SFarmsIndia representative on WhatsApp. Prospective buyers can use this platform to search agri-lands based on various parameters such as land type, state, district etc.
SFarmsIndia has exclusively partnered with credible small farm developers. Professionals from cities take a lot of interest in buying such farms as developers take the responsibility of maintaining the farms for five years even after the sale.
“Gone are the days when farmlands were an alternative asset class for HNI investors only. At SFarmsIndia, we are strongly positioning agri land investments as an alternative asset class even for the middle class and white-collar professionals,” adds Kamesh.
The growth story
Building a unique product for an untapped market is never easy. The entrepreneurial journey for Kamesh has been challenging. But as they say, only an entrepreneur can walk into the unknown without fearing the consequences. “It takes great effort and patience to build a company at the intersection of agriculture and real estate. One of the biggest challenges for us is to educate customers before engaging them on the platform,” shares Kamesh.
With a strong network of freelancers across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, SFarmsIndia is constantly adding the neighborhood agri-land listings on their website. Digital platforms like Quora and YouTube are leveraged to drive greater awareness. “We have also created a space on Quora to educate people about various agri-land transactions. The fact that it has great traction tells us that we are on the right track,” adds Kamesh.
Headquartered in Hyderabad, SFarmsIndia has already had more than 21K buyers and sellers on its platform. It is growing at an accelerated pace of 220 percent annually in terms of the number of listings. Currently, the platform has 5,000 agri-land listings from the Telugu states (Telangana & Andhra Pradesh) alone. Kamesh and team are now planning to expand its operations to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra by the end of 2021.
SFarmsIndia has plans for introducing multiple new product lines this year. Shortly, they will launch Agro-Industry Lands offering, intended to benefit agri-entrepreneurs. This will simplify searching and buying industry lands in Agro Processing Clusters (APCs) and Mega Food Parks.
SFarmsIndia is partnering with top management institutes to build a price prediction model. This model would leverage state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence techniques on top of rich structured agri realty data covering a host of parameters. “Our collaboration plans extend to financial institutions for agri-related loans and other international companies for farm and water management services,” shares Kamesh.
Further in tech, “We are also building a custom-app for freelancers with a simpler user interface and dashboard to ease the agri-property onboarding process and review earnings in real-time,” he says.
Moreover, SFarmsIndia also plans to launch a one-of-a-kind Land Fraction Trading platform which will allow customers to buy and sell even the smallest fraction of land on a real-time basis. Kamesh says, “We are waiting for the Land Title Act to come in place which will enable us to launch such a platform that will allow our users to buy/sell land fraction (1/1000 of the acre).”
Sharing his vision for the future, Kamesh shares, “With a clear expansion strategy in place, our goal is to make the land listings available in every pin code of India by the end of 2023.”