How AgroStar Is Leading the Way to Simplify India’s Distribution

The Sheth brothers founded AgroStar in 2012.

India has some 120 million growers and a predominantly generic agrichemical market. A strong and efficient distribution network is essential for crop protection.

Yet, the country’s industry has been plagued by problems arising out of supply chain inefficiencies, a lack of transparency, spurious products, and inadequate infrastructure, which result in post-harvest losses estimated at INR 45,000 crore ($7 billion) every year, according to a Tata Strategic Management Group/FICCI report.

This also makes it difficult for agrichemical companies to reach the farmers to promote their products and educate them about their usage and benefits. Indian farmers deal with layers upon layers of agents, dealers, and distributors to get to the farm inputs they want to buy.

Enter a Rising Start-Up Called AgroStar

The Pune-headquartered firm, founded in 2012, skips all the layers and goes straight to the farmer via their cellphone.

As the motto splashed on its homepage goes: “Our mission is to simplify the agribusiness experience for farmers in rural India.”

The Accel-backed start-up raised $10 million in Series B funding earlier in 2017 and currently operates in the three states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan with a staff of over 200 people.

Commenting on the investment, Prashanth Prakash, Partner, Accel India, said: “There is a huge scope to implement technology to solve the inherent problems faced by farmers in India. In a mobile first country like India, AgroStar has clearly demonstrated that farmers in India are ready to adapt the latest in technology that can make their lives simpler and improve their productivity.”

Co-founder and CEO Shardul Sheth and co-founder and Director Sitanshu Sheth break down the process:

  • A farmer expresses his interest to transact with AgroStar either through a missed call on a toll-free number or through the company’s Android app.
  • AgroStar’s intelligent, predictive dialer connects qualified customer relations executive with the farmer. The executive understands his query and provides him with personalized agronomy and product solutions based on his crop cycle and places an order on behalf of the customer with the aid of a smart CRM.
  • The products are dispatched from the central warehouse through one of the delivery channels viz. India Post, local entrepreneurial logistics partners or through field sales executives and are delivered at farmer’s doorstep.

The focus is on four consumer-centric pillars: genuine and quality products, fair pricing, advisory solutions, and quality service, say the Sheth brothers, and the model is catching on: “Farmer interest has been growing multi-factor every year. The business has been growing 2x to 2.5x in the last three years through continuous innovations in farmer engagement, product range, and last-mile delivery. More than 1.4 million farmers have been serviced with over 4 lakh farmers transacting on platform,” they tell AgriBusiness Global.

The key challenges, the Sheths say, include convincing less literate farmers to trust an alternate channel of commerce and ensuring timely last-mile delivery. The current platform, too, is not yet perfected. Delivery speed can still be improved, and logistics challenges still stand in the way of speedy deliveries of bulk products, according to the Sheths.

Precision ag plays no small part in the founders’ vision.

“AgroStar has also been at the forefront in acquiring a huge amount of data pertaining to millions of calls, lakhs of farmers and transactions, and thousands of products across the geographies. The farmer-specific data is used to provide more customized services, loyalty programs and recommend more relevant products. The operational data is used for building efficiency in the system.

“While the intent to be able to provide site-specific crop management services is very much there, and steps toward crop image-based recommendations are being taken, the challenges the Indian landscape provides with regard to small and fragmented holdings still makes it a difficult proposition to have precision agriculture done at scale,” the Sheths point out.

The company aims to spread throughout India within the next two years. Partners include more than 160 brands, including multinationals such as Monsanto, Dow, and BASF to provide raw materials, seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs.

“There is a continuous effort to on-board more relevant brands and expand the portfolio to cover more crops and agri-products across the states,” the Sheths say.

 

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Agrichemicals

Vive-crop-protection-products
Agrichemicals

Vive Introduces Five New Crop Protection Products for 2019 Season

Five new fertilizer-compatible products are expected to be available from Vive Crop Protection for U.S. corn, sugarbeet, and potato growers

Adjuvants

Vive Announces Five Crop Protection Products for 2019

New nanotechnology-enabled products provide proven insect or disease control.

Rice Field
Insecticides

Belchim Crop Protection USA to Distribute Tenchu Insecticide

Belchim Crop Protection USA has announced it will be distributing Tenchu 20SG (active ingredient dinotefuran), a leading insecticide to protect

corn-field-close-up
Fungicides

Syngenta Receives EPA Registration for New Fungicide Seed Treatment for Corn

Vibrance Cinco fungicide seed treatment from Syngenta has received registration approval from the U.S. EPA for use on corn to

Platform-Graphic-5
Agrichemicals

Defining the #Agritech Platform Stack

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Many moons ago, the legendary investor Paul Graham fired off a

Agrichemicals

The Verdict on Dicamba (So Far) in 2018

Does 605 official dicamba-related injury investigations and/or approximately 1.1 million acres of dicamba-injured soybean constitute a problem for U.S. agriculture?

Agrichemicals

Platform Confirms Arysta Sale to UPL, to Change Name

Platform has signed a definitive agreement to sell Arysta LifeScience Inc. to UPL Corporation Ltd. for $4.2 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments Closing

Asia

Crop Protection Key to Doubling Indian Grower Income – Report

Despite all its achievements, Indian agriculture is still grappling with challenges like high monsoon dependency, unpredictable weather patterns, reduction in arable land, low per hectare yield, and lower farmer incomes.

Agrichemicals

Hemani Industries Launches Branded Formulation Division

Hemani Industries Limited, serving international agrichemical customers for more than three decades, has launched its branded formulation division to serve

Agrichemicals

Considering Cuba: Opportunities and Challenges for Ag Input Suppliers

As Cuba attempts to boost its production of food products for domestic consumption, it is expected to gradually increase use and import of chemical inputs.

Adjuvants

Exosect Grants Monsanto License for Formulation Product

UK-based Exosect Ltd. announced it has granted Monsanto Company a license to use its Entostat technology for the delivery of select agricultural biologicals as seed treatments.

Herbicides

HELM Agro US Acquires BASF Herbicide

HELM Agro US, Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire EXTREME herbicide from BASF Corp. EXTREME provides excellent burndown and

India-crop-protection-application
Agrichemicals

UPL to Acquire Arysta for Over $4 Billion

Deal Street Asia said the deal could be announced as early as this week.

Agrichemicals

India’s Crystal Crop Protection Launches Seven Products

Crystal Crop Protection launches new herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides in India.

Adjuvants

Sapec Agro Business Enters Adjuvant Sector with SDP Acquisition

Sapec Agro Business has announced the acquisition of French company SDP, through its subsidiary Tradecorp. The acquisition of SDP, which

ChemChina
Agrichemicals

ChemChina, Sinochem Merger Imminent

Merger believed to be one of the Chinese government’s conditions for its support of ChemChina’s $49 billion takeover of Swiss agrichemicals giant Syngenta AG.

Agrichemicals

AMVAC Names Eilers Managing Director

Eilers will be responsible for AMVAC’s international business.

Agrichemicals

Atticus Snaps Up Tacoma Ag, Expands Generics Portfolio

This strategic acquisition complements and expands Atticus’ product offerings, particularly in the herbicide category.

Agrichemicals

Monsanto and Corteva Agriscience Expand Licensing Agreement for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Technology

Monsanto Company and Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, announced the companies have reached an agreement on an expanded license

Latest News

Asia

India’s Hemani Industries Forges New Partnerships

“I think customers are tired of having so much inconsistency in supply. There’s a mystery of what’s going to be available and what’s not, so they want to go into a partnership so they’re assured of supplies, and hopefully, prices.”

Agrichemicals

Vive Introduces Five New Crop Protection Products for 2019 Season

Five new fertilizer-compatible products are expected to be available from Vive Crop Protection for U.S. corn, sugarbeet, and potato growers

Biopesticides

BioConsortia Promotes Dr. Hong Zhu to Sr. VP of Research and Development

BioConsortia, Inc., innovator of microbial solutions for natural plant trait enhancement and yield improvement, has promoted Dr. Hong Zhu to

Biopesticides

Marrone Bio Innovations Submits Novel Bioherbicide for EPA Approval

Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for the agriculture, turf

Events

Slideshow: Highlights from the Trade Summit Presentations

The AgriBusiness Global Trade Summit might have ended, but the insight and education provided by a host of speakers will