Innovator Spotlight: PayAgri
PayAgri started its journey in Feb 2017, though the seed for payAgri was sown many years back. The co-founders (Rajeev G Kaimal & Rajkumar KVM) left their flourishing career to become entrepreneurs in the Agri space as they felt the urge to do something to bring about a change in the life of small and marginal farmers. Mr Rajkumar, an Investment banker by profession hailing from an agricultural family in Theni, Tamil Nadu always use to wonder why his relatives and people known to him in his village are moving away from farming. During one of the conversations with a distant family member, he understood the real plight of farmers and the challenges of being a farmer especially if you are a smallholder farmer. This actually led him to quit his job in 2012 and began studying the Agri space more deeply as a farmer, agri trader and even became an agri consultant.
The other Cofounder Mr Rajeev G Kaimal has been in the Rural Banking and Financial Services space and was driving the Micro Banking Project- Aadhaar Enabled Banking Solution in Citibank and subsequently Rural Financial Services project in IFMR Rural Channels. In 2014, he became the Founding Member of an Agri Value Chain Finance Co and later Rajkumar joined the company as an Agri Value Chain consultant to help build products and set up its trading division.
Journey So Far
During the initial days in the Agri Value Chain Finance co., while interacting with Farmer Producer Companies and Community based organisations, it was felt that though Financial Linkage or access to finance was one of the biggest challenge faced by farmers they also needed support in terms of market linkage, input linkage, technical support etc and there was no intervention of technology at all among smallholder farmers. The Three biggest inefficiencies that were identified were as follows 1) the presence of an array of middlemen 2) Cash-based transaction and 3) Lack of Technology; resulting in the small and marginal farmers unable to accrue the benefits of large scale farming. It was strongly felt that there is a need to provide a holistic solution to improve the economic condition of farmers and that solution in silos might not create the desired impact. The idea was to create an inclusive economy where the aspirations of every player in the Agri value chain is taken into consideration without compromising the farmer interest, where, technology plays a vital role as an enabler. This thought and the co-founders understanding of the sector and the need to create an impactful model led to the birth of payAgri Innovations.
The Model - payAgri is a Full Stack Agri FinTech co focused on providing a long-lasting solution to some of the major challenges faced by the farmers in India and another developing world. payAgri directly works with aggregated small & marginal farmers through FPCs(Farmer Producer Companies), CBOs/NGOs etc and integrate them with all the key actors in Agri Value Chain, through the Agri Value Engine Portal to bring inclusive growth. The core proposition is to remove some of the major inefficiencies in the agri value chain - Middlemen & Cash-based transaction and bring the benefits of large scale farming to small & marginal farmers.
How we Impact Farmers - We digitise the data of aggregated farmers (Farmer Producer Organisations, Community Based Organisations etc) and provide them the much needed linkage support like Input linkage (directly with Input manufacturer’s), Financial Linkage (access to finance through banks/nbfc), Market linkage (directly with institutional buyers), Agtech Linkage, Donor linkage, Risk mitigation through Insurance, technical support etc, by leveraging technology. This holistic intervention helps the farmer in reducing the cost of cultivation, increasing the yield, risk mitigation, access to affordable technology and better value for the product; all leading to Increased savings and also helps in creating a financial profile at farmer level.
Our current operations are in Tamil Nadu but will soon be covering the other Southern states this Financial Year.
Success Stories From The Farm
As a farm gate transaction enabler, payAgri was able to play a pivotal role in creating market linkage for the produce of farmers with institutional buyers by taking into consideration the requirements of both the buyer and the seller. To give an example: Mr Moorthy is a coconut farmer from Peravuruni, Tamilnadu who owns 4 acres of coconut farm. His farm produced coconut of all quantities from 300 gm to 700 gm, which posed a big problem for him indirectly selling his produce to Institutional buyers as they have strict quality parameters in terms of the weight and other criterions. Hence, the farmer was always dependent on middlemen to sell his produce. Mr Moorthy got connected with payAgri while we were studying the Coconut Value Chain. PayAgri post setting up the Market Centre [ pMC ] in Chennai in June partnered with many Institutional Buyers including Super Market Chains. The supermarket chain wanted coconut which weighs between 500 to 600gm. PayAgri approached Mr Moorthy and procured the entire produce and created direct market linkage with multiple Institutional buyers. The coconut procured was graded and the nuts weighing between 500to 600gm was supplied to the supermarket chains and the rest was supplied to other institutional buyers including Oil mills and B2B companies. This helped Mr Moorthy to get a better price for his produce and also had to no longer depend on middlemen.
Working with India's Agri Corporates
As payAgri model believes in creating a win-win situation for every player in the value chain, we are committed to providing the best of the solution to Food and Agri corporates and other value chain actors. One of the strengths of pay Agri is Backward linkage, where we directly work with aggregated farmers and provide them with all the requisite support from input to market linkage. Our deep intervention at aggregated farmer level gives us the unique advantage of having 360-degree view of the activities at the aggregated farmers or Farmer Producer Companies. This helps us to be the ideal partner for any company who has a product or solution for farmers or would like to do any business transaction with farmers. Our solution which is a mixture of both online and offline will help Corporates to mitigate many of the risks that they face from quality parameters to timely delivery. If it’s a financial institution then payAgri can support them in terms of due diligence to ensuring end-use of loan to loan monitoring and support even on payment collection. Today we have signed up with Input manufacturers, Food processing cos, Super Market Chains, B2B Companies and FMCG companies – to make Direct Farm procurement a reality. We follow a High-tech high –touch approach which is a necessity for providing any meaningful intervention in the agri sector.
You can reach PayAgri at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org