Agri-Input Hierarchy of Needs + Event Update

How do you prioritise while building digital Ag solutions for small-holder farmers?

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Digest Edition of Agribusiness Matters, where I reflect on the previous newsletter and ask myself: In doing what I am doing, what am I really doing. This used to run on Sundays. But, thanks to the pandemic, I have lost the ability to distinguish Sundays from the rest of the days.

Last week, I published Plantix and Two Roads to Agriculture. It evoked tremendous response from readers across the globe. I am excited to do a follow-up later this week.

It was fun to sketch the Agri-Input Hierarchy of Needs model, which became the central framework underpinning my article.

The framework came out of my attempt to answer the question: How do you help investors and aspiring agritech founders prioritize what to build for Indian Agriculture?

With the recent news emerging that TerrAvion, offering subscription-based imagery delivery services, announced their bankruptcy, it becomes all the more important to understand the key strategic drivers that drive commercialisation of Digital Ag technologies in an Indian context.

Mind you, this framework should be useful, not just in India, but in markets which have a lot of small-land holding farmers.

Last year, when I travelled across Guatemala, meeting farmers and agri-input retailers for consulting work, I realized that small land-holding farmers in Guatemala have a lot more in common with their Indian counterparts than their neighbouring US counterparts.

Of course, at a micro level, the levels and the maturity at which each of these levels play out would vary significantly across each country.

While agricultural extension services are hopelessly broken in India, I wouldn’t say the same for other countries like Guatemala and Columbia which have devised interesting commercial approaches to bring skin in the game in the agronomy advice that is offered to farmers.

I have another update. After the success of the recent LinkedIn Live conversations, I am motivated to do weekly conversations on technical topics to unpack the complexities of Indian Agriculture.

Many of the readers have often complained about my obsessive focus on Agri-Input side of things, at the cost of the Agri-Output side of things. I will hopefully remedy that, in the coming weeks.

In the upcoming LinkedIn Live Event, I will be in conversation with Jagadeesh Sunkad, where we will unpack Bull-Whip Effect in the Agri-Output Supply Chain. You can RSVP for the event here.

We will explore questions like: Why do prices of fruits and vegetables fluctuate wildly always? When startups promise higher revenue to farmers, can they honour their promise? Is there any difference between traditional middle-men and vertically-focused agri-output startups like Ninjacart?

Do share any other questions you would like us to focus on in the agri-output side of things?

Enjoy your Tuesday!