At a time when smallholder farmers are burdened with rising farm input and fuel prices, two agricultural entrepreneurs in western Maharashtra have created a free, knowledge-based advisory platform aimed at increasing agricultural production while maintaining soil health.
Pravin Shinde and Vishnu Dhas, co-founders and directors of the “KhetiGuru” platform, want to equip smallholder farmers with the knowledge and technology they need to boost agricultural production, from land preparation to harvest. The platform, which launched earlier this month, focuses on crop nutrition and is designed to be a “preventative” rather than a “curative” resource, preventing crop damage from pests and diseases and helping farmers achieve higher yields.
“KhetiGuru has an expert team of 50 agronomists to provide seamless advisory services.” “They will help farmers in need with everything from land preparation to different stages of the crop life cycle such as sowing, flowering, fruiting and harvesting, as well as recommending various unique products developed by KhetiGuru,” says Shinde, who comes from a farming family in Satara district.
Since KhetiGuru focuses on nutrition and crop health, chemical-based pesticides will be used less frequently to improve soil health.
From ‘KhetiGaadi’ to ‘KhetiGuru’
The concept of this platform did not come out of nowhere: in 2016, the duo launched “KhetiGaadi”, an agricultural version of OLX, which created an online ecosystem for agricultural mechanization in India for the first time.
The platform, which provides farmers with a variety of product options and detailed specifications for buying, selling and renting agricultural equipment, is changing the face of agricultural mechanization in India. It has already recorded a gross market value (GMV) of 1,200 crore in 2019 and another GMV of 1,200 crore in 2021-22. Farmers can also use the KhetiGuru app to have the necessary tools, seeds, fertilizers and nutritional crop protection products delivered. at their homes. The application is available on the Play Store.
“The overwhelming response to the KhetiGaadi initiative, which is currently being used by over 50 lakh farmers across India and addressing the challenges faced by India’s slow pace of agricultural mechanization, has prompted us to think seriously about the crop damage,” Shinde said. KhetiGuru will offer free consultancy services by qualified agronomists. Agribusiness charges farmers between Rs. 1,200 and Rs. 4,000 per year. “We want to be ahead of them by focusing on preventing crop damage,” says Dhas.
KhetiGuru offers special kits for different stages of the grow cycle, such as Alawani Soaking Kit, “Special Grow” Kit, Flowering Kit, Special Drip Kit, PH Balance Kit and Drip Kit. activator, and other products, to meet the problems faced by farmers. As with KhetiGaadi, the duo concluded from their interactions with farmers over the years that lack of appropriate technology, know-how and awareness were the main reasons limiting maximum crop yield, mainly in the case of small-scale farmers. subject to environmental hazards.
The company’s co-founder, Rajesh Dhas, says its products are based on nanotechnology and come in 1g packs for a one-acre crop. They have been successfully piloted by 1,000 farmers so far and are being rolled out across India. Farmers can also use the KhetiGuru app to have the necessary tools, seeds, fertilizers and nutritional crop protection products delivered to their homes. The application is available on the Play Store.