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East-West Seed India

East-West Seed is a global leader in the tropical vegetable seeds market with 35 years of experience in breeding, producing, and delivering high-quality vegetable seeds.

Founded by Dr. Simon Groot, winner of the World Food Prize 2019, East-West Seed is ranked #1 in the 2019 Global Access to Seed Index, which recognizes the commitment and performance in providing the World's smallholder farmers access to quality seeds. EWIN has helped more than 10,000 smallholder vegetable farmers by providing knowledge on better farming practices in high-quality vegetable seeds.

The range includes varieties such as Cucurbits, Solanaceae, Alliums, Brassicas, Legumes, and others. In 2020; we will be launching new varieties of Tomato, Okra, and Hot Pepper and planning to introduce innovative technologies beyond disease resistant and high yielding vegetable varieties.

East-West Seed, India, is on a robust growth path. With a strong focus on quality and innovation, East-West Seed India has eight R&D stations across the country; we are projecting 15% CAGR and aim to become one of the top five vegetable seed companies by 2021..

Digital initiatives- Our experience

The lock down has severely affected movement of goods and people and consequently affected the availability of seed and other inputs that farmers need and on the other hand also prevented farmers from harvesting produce and selling it…with that said, it is laudable that both state and central government expedited the movement of all things related to food production.

On how we are reaching and serving farmers during the extended lockdown- we have quickly embraced technology to both connect with our farmers (eConnect) and eCommerce to enable last mile delivery directly to farmers.

East-West Seed India ties up with four rural based major e-commerce firms, Agrostar, Bighaat, Dehaat, and Gramophone to deliver vegetable seeds pan India. Under the partnership, farmers all over India can order East-West India seeds through the above digital agri-tech platforms and get last-mile delivery of seeds directly to their doorstep while following hygiene and social distancing norms.

We wanted to create a pan India reach to the eCommerce connected farmers. We evaluated many potential  eCommerce players  , and felt that most of them have Regional strength areas. So we chose to go with four partners , each one of them having their individual  strong presence in geographies distinct from each other. It helps us reach out to a much wider  audience of farmers.

Collectively these four partners have a cumulative reach to more than 12 lac farmers.

Through these four partners , we should be able to reach the farmers of Karnataka AP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India. Maharashtra , Gujarat , Rajasthan in West , MP and UP in  Central and North , Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha in the East.  

We are offering a basket of products, mutually selected , to each of our eCommerce partners based on suitability to their regions and agro climatic conditions. We have also conducted training programmes for their teams on agronomy, suitable sowing windows , product and crop related training , and shall continue at regular frequency with a pre scheduled calendar.

Serving farmers via e-Connect

Our digital outreach eConnect allows our commercial teams to connect with farmers across India- in the past 3 months, our teams have connected with 1,60,000 farmers and trained them through the digital platform, offering them crop advisory and helping them make the right decisions.

Ag-Tech startups playing a greater role in the Indian Seed Industry

Technology will disrupt agri value chains, drive higher productivity and create new channels to market and there will be a greater willingness to engage digital technology. The pandemic has shown the immense value of digital tools and agriculture cannot be left behind- systematic application of digital tools will support sustainable production & timely supply especially when food production and supply involves millions of small holder farmers.

Technology will also enable the farm to fork model- now, if you pause and think, among all agricultural products, vegetables  and  fruits  are  the  only  ones  which  can  go directly  from  Farm to Fork and does not require processing like other crops!

Social  distancing  and  safety  norms are here to stay for some time- this could lead to  reduction  of  labor  density  in  farming  related  works and consequently, more automation in vegetable farming

A lot of contribution will therefore come from Ag-Tech start-ups. Scalable interventions are on the anvil from start-ups in creating models using real-time information on the farm, farmer, and crop to enable access to farmers. Even more significant issues such as non-availability of labor or an increase in labor costs are being addressed by tech-based mobile applications.

Dilip Rajan, MD, East-West Seed India

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