- Team ThinkAg
KhetiBuddy: Helping the Agri value chain using science and technology
Updated: Feb 2
The SaaS platform aims to improve food production with an eye on sustainability goals
The global population is on the rise and at this rate we will need 50 per cent more food by 2030 to ensure food security. It is only when science and technology combine can we create substantial improvements and innovation in the way we produce food. Our path is to understand technology deeply while implementing it simply for agricultural value-chain, that is the idea behind KhetiBuddy.
KhetiBuddy, as the name suggests, is a companion through the journey of producing food. It helps in collecting, measuring and analysing data for advising and guiding farmers on their farming habits and practices. This process contributes to improving food production systematically, delivered through the platform through various modules along with biologicals.
The genesis of KhetiBuddy: ‘Jab Science met Technology’ – in the words of founder Vinay Nair
January 2020 marked my 20-year milestone in the technology domain as well as 10 years of investment in Aariabiolife, a biologicals agri input company started by my wife Dr. Richa. I had spent a large part of my career dedicated to helping large companies, solving their business challenges through the latest cloud and mobile technologies. I also enjoyed my time spent watching science at work from a distance through Aariabiolife’s farmer engagements, while my weekdays were spent shuttling between board room meetings in tech consulting for the cloud solutions we implemented.
At the same time, however, I was also lucky enough to witness another kind of science being put into practice - one that is much more personal and intimate. This second type involved weekends spent with my wife Dr. Richa's mission to educate farmers from rural Maharashtra about the ills associated with chemical pesticides and why residue-free bio-based fertilisers/pesticides were essential for sustainable crop production.
As she went around meeting these farmers and discussing her products and ideas with them, it never ceased to amaze me how effectively she could explain complex scientific concepts in simple terms that even laymen like myself could understand! She would often come back home full of enthusiasm after having successfully made a farmer switch over to an organic farming paradigm or when somebody had decided not to use harmful chemicals on their crops anymore! It was incredible witnessing this transformation first-hand! It was during these moments, that it clicked to me since we could explain agriculture simply and possess the technology to reach more farmers then what we could go on to do. The same technology solutions which I implement for other businesses could be implemented for the purpose of educating, guiding and consulting thousands of farmers at one-go. That is when the journey of technology met science started – the genesis of Khetibuddy!
From Ideation to Solution
It was clear by early 2020 that we wanted to create impact by developing an end-to-end agtech platform. I wanted to reach more farmers and enable agriculture sector by implementing technology that would help prosper science. Every stakeholder in the value chain has an important role and purpose to serve. While most solutions might circumvent some stakeholders, we believe that inclusivity is key to long-term success and a sustainable model. At every step, data collection is critical for improving farming process. So, it was natural that farmer would be the central piece where we should introduce our technology.
On June 5, 2021, we piloted our platform for our own farmers using our bio-based inputs to increase productivity, optimise cost of production and get assistance throughout their farming journey. We wanted to develop with an agriculture-first approach. Instead of doing it in isolation we preferred to get quick feedback from the very people for whom we were developing this solution. Back in 2021, we on-boarded 50,000+ farmers and kept on delivering our services to them. As we kept on improvising our farm platform with their feedback, we soon realised that the platform was ready for organisations, similar to ourselves, to implement it and create or host their own farmer network and manage their farms. I was happy to learn that several agtech start-ups had already started to address this challenge. That is when I decided to launch our agtech platform for enterprises. Today, there are many agri solutions with lack of knowledge on tech and many tech solutions with not much field experience. We wanted to bridge this gap and be the technology partner in an organisation’s journey.
KhetiBuddy’s enterprise solution is for organisations that either manage farms or farmer networks. This is where our B2F meets B2B. Any agribusiness, be it export houses, FPOs, KVKs, F&B firms or agro procurement firms, which deal with farmers need solutions to monitor, manage and engage with farmers while digitising many records in the process for analysis and decision-making. Our enterprise platform creates value for those businesses that constantly want to be on top of farm activities and increase profitability and efficiencies. What is more? Our platform solution comes integrated with a suite of business solutions such as Oracle NetSuite and India’s most popular SaaS Solution – Zoho. It brings and pushes data from many sources into one dashboard where you slice and dice data and turn it into insights. Currently the platform has several modules which help in managing any organisation’s sustainability goals, from yield increase, bio diversity, carbon sequestration and farmer education. We map the organisation’s goal, align it to science and then use the technology to consume the science which finally helps in monitoring, managing and measuring those goals. We also white label the solution so organisations can save on development and focus on what is the most important, spending time on field with farmers!
We made a modest start with a few hundred farmers and have since turned into a platform with more than two lakh farmers and several agribusinesses from F&B to hydroponic domain on the platform. As we scale further in the years to come, our goal remains to understand deeply and explain simply and map all possible use cases for food quality, food quantity and climate change with the help of our BIGITAL(Biology + Digital) approach. With more than 125 billion devices connected to the internet and 580 million farmers as the universe, we have a long journey ahead of us. You can visit www.khetibuddy.com and www.aariabiolife.com for more information.