Future Of Agritech 2023: Cutting-edge Technology Will Drive Agri Value Chain

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Balaya Moharana- CTO – Zuari FarmHub Ltd.


  1. Please share an overview on Zuari Farmhub Limited and elaborate on their business model.

Zuari FarmHub Limited (part of the Adventz Group) is an AgriTech venture in the domain of agriculture and allied services, aims to provide end-to-end services and solution to the farming community in India. Known for “JaiKisaan” brand, Zuari FarmHub operates one of India’s biggest agri-retail chains and provides a wide range of agri-input products that serve the need of nutrition and protection throughout the cropping cycle.

The business model is based on creating tech-enabled solutions throughout the agri value chain – from manufacturing to market access, FarmHub produces an exclusive portfolio of products that includes micronutrients, soil conditioners, organic products, specialty agri fluids, fertilization products (WSF) and other crop care products. Supported by fully tech-enabled supply chain system with 2,25,000 sqft. of retail space, and 4,45,000 sqft. of warehouse space, along with a business relationship with more than 7 lakh farmers. One of key advantages of the business model is the COCO (Company Owned Company Operated) retail stores that provide physical access to all the offered services. Branded as “JaiKisaan Junction”, each store is designed to serve a catchment area of 15-20 villages, along with trained agri-advisors known as Jai Kisaan Salahkar (JKS), who play a critical role in providing much-needed human interface between the company and the farmers.


  1. Please share the mission and vision of Zuari Farmhub Ltd and what’s its expansion plan for FY23.

The mission for Zuari FarmHub is to build and leverage the latest technologies and advancements in precision farming methods to create value for farmers and other farming-related stakeholders by providing integrated agri-solutions for all their operational needs.

Key to achieving this is to implement an Omni channel last mile delivery system to the farmers, also known as the “Phygital” model that combines physical access points with digital interfaces. We aim to bring online an agri-tech platform that combines established plant science and soil science with cutting edge data science and AL/ML technologies to provide precision farming solutions at mass scale.

Our full-service physical stores will be a key differentiator in this mission, we believe that our widespread presence and brand recognition will create trust and encourage farmers to adopt new technologies that we offer. FarmHub tech platform will provide a range of services : online order for inputs that will be delivered to the farmer doorstep from the nearest store, Drone application services, Financing Services and Market linkage services

Our growth plan for 2023 includes expansions in several areas: Increase store locations from current 490 to 800. Partnerships with NBFCs for financing. Partnerships with providers of Drone and IoT devices to rollout precision farming solutions.


  1. What are the key challenges and needs of the new-age farmers in India?

Even though there has been a lot of awareness and potential in the agricultural field, Indian farmers still confront a number of difficulties when it comes to other services in the value chain.

Key need for new-age farmers in India is availability of precision and personalized solutions for their unique situations because the farming requirements varies based on market dynamics, regions, and cropping preferences,

On Input side, farmer needs quality soil testing and easy supply of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. On financial side – farmer needs access to credit, insurance and farm equipment rental options. On output side – farmer needs access to larger market and logistics.

So, the farmers nowadays are looking for a one-stop shop to meet all their farming needs, with organizations who are trusted and reliable and have been present in the field for a long time At Zuari FarmHub, we already have the credentials of serving the farmers over multiple decades and we intend to respond to such challenges by providing farmers solutions they need.


  1. How the agriculture industry in India will shape up in 2023 and beyond?

The agricultural sector is  now being recognized as a key economic driver by the government and technology innovators. Tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and IBM among others, are now interested in focusing on technological advances that can help in the growth of the agricultural sector. We can anticipate a large number of collaborations in 2023 and beyond.

Since the agriculture industry is so vast, having one player do everything in the value chain will be a difficult task. Though, as an industry, we are continuously thriving towards excellence, we do expect a lot more collaboration and tech advancements in terms of AI and ML applications for farming usage, which will also enhance our footprint in the domestic and international markets. We anticipate that by 2023, the industry will have a more organized and easily accessible structure in which quality checks of produce, soil testing, soil property measurement, precision advisory, and personalized crop advisory will be provided specifically to farmers’ needs, the season, and so on.


  1. How the evolution of next-gen technologies in the agriculture sector will boost industrial growth??

Indian farming sector has had minimal tech infusion, so potential is very large for next-gen technologies to drive growth in terms of farm yield, and the farmer’s income, which will ultimately boost industrial output. The advancements in technologies, especially machinery, have already contributed to the improvement of cultivation, production, and irrigation.

However, the real breakout moment in this sector will come from digital transformation such as using IoT, AI/ML, robotics, etc. that can infuse precision elements in to entire agri value chain. This will bring personalized crop advisory on the input side and supply-demand  market linkage on output side. Most of these technologies are yet to be conceptualized and built, we have a long way to go.

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