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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Uplifting India’s agri ecosystem: How Krishikan is empowering spice farmers

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Raj Kancham and Vivek Radhakrishnan always wanted to produce something that would make the whole agri ecosystem, from farmers to end consumers, better. The two had attentively observed how agriculture was practiced in their early years.

In 2020, Vivek Radhakrishnan and Raj Kancham founded Krishikan, which specializes on the spices market. The Bengaluru-based agritech business works with everyone throughout the value chain, including farmers, agri input suppliers, research organizations, and consumers.

Radhakrishnan had previously worked for PSI Data Systems and Sapient, while Kancham had previously worked for firms including Nokia, GE, and Honeywell. Both individuals had expertise working with other agri companies prior to the launch of Krishikan.

There are numerous difficulties with seeding, harvesting, and selling, according to what I have observed attentively about how agriculture is practiced. According to Kancham, who has closely seen how agriculture is practiced, there are numerous difficulties associated with planting, harvesting, and selling.

For a number of reasons, the founders chose to concentrate on the spice market. Low output volume but great value is one of them. The company’s founders noticed that farmers were still using old methods, which had no positive effects on their produce or prices.

Kancham asserts that it’s critical to assess the soil’s nutrient value in addition to purchasing the appropriate seeds for the crop. To learn about the most recent developments in spice farming, which are then provided as inputs to the farmers, Krishikan maintains continual contact with a number of research organizations around the nation.

For this, Krishikan has established connections with numerous businesses in order to purchase seeds, fertilizer, nutrients, etc.

The firm consults with many farmer organizations on high-quality inputs such as seeds, the best method to use fertilizers, disease management, and so on. According to Kancham, farmers that use the platform have increased productivity by 12 to 35% while lowering input costs by at least 20%.

The team also contacts over 5,500 farmers on a regular basis to assist them in closely monitoring the crop and providing timely input or guidance. This is accomplished through the deployment of an internal web-based application that is accessible via mobile devices.

According to Kancham, the industry is also exceedingly difficult because the farming community is accustomed to adhering to old techniques and is skeptical of new ideas. Additionally, there is a very low rate of technology adoption. The creators of Krishikan think it takes patience to introduce new concepts and methods to farmers. The team takes care to make just suggestions that are in line with what the farmers have already been doing but with some improvements.

Krishikan is continuously obtaining accurate information during the entire procedure. “Over the last two years, we have been collecting data on a variety of parameters, and we will look at modeling this at some point in the near future,” Radhakrishnan says.

The firm not only provides farmers with inputs, but it also buys the spices those farmers grow. According to Kancham, spices are a key component in many treatments, and many purchasers are eager to get high-quality spices and are willing to pay a premium price.

Krishikan has partnered with a variety of consumers, including food processing businesses, exporters, and pharmaceutical businesses. Kancham claims that there are strict laws governing the residual levels in spices on the export market, and Krishikan may bring this.

Kancham claims that Krishikan can lower the strict limits for residue levels in spices that are applicable to the export market. It has been successful in increasing the exportability of its products from 60% to 80%.

Kancham claims that “the industry gains predictability on what is grown as well as quality and consistency.”

Currently, Krishikan focuses primarily on the cultivation of the spices turmeric and cayenne. It has partnerships with roughly 5,500 farmers covering over 10,500 acres across three states—Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

The existing middlemen in the spice trade are Krishikan’s primary rivals. Dehaat and FarMart are two additional startups in this field. The founders assert that, in contrast to their rivals, who view spices as merely another category in their portfolio, their focus on the spices market gives them a competitive advantage.

The company will now diversify into other spice markets, such as those for black pepper, ginger, garlic, and cumin, among others.

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