How nurture.farm is making agriculture profitable and environmentally sustainable!

Entrepreneurship
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In conversation with Dhruv Sawhney, Business Head & COO

  1. What is nurture.farm all about?

nurture.farm is an independent open digital platform that brings what every farmer needs to thrive together in one place – technology, solutions, finance. Its ecosystem reaches across the food system, expanding choice for customers – making access transparent, affordable and fast, for everyone. This way nurture.farm lessens uncertainty, helping farmers secure sustainable outcomes. It brings together the best of solutions such as access to ag inputs, remote sensing, farm mechanisation, online marketplaces, traceability, market linkage and sustainable practices to de-risk the farmer and focus on resilience. nurture.farm delivers these to farmers, through technology led solutions, grounded in science. The company is focused on providing services and solutions to farmers through the crop life cycle. To do so, some of the biggest opportunities that nurture is focused on include

  • nurture.farm – Providing a shared economy model for enabling farm to fork services through crop package solutions, advisory services, various farm mechanisation services such as machine and drone spraying, harvesting, soil testing, social services such as weather and health insurance. Over 1 million farmers are using these services through nurture.farm app

  • nurture.retail – An Ag input marketplace platform which provides direct access and authentic products to ag input retailers through a convenient and digitised supply chain. Over 50,000 Ag Retailers are using this platform via the nurture.retail app

  • nurture.sustain – A platform to identify and implement use of regenerative practices for farmers such as crop residue management, water efficiency, green labelling

  • nurture.trade – A platform to provide market linkage solutions to farmers to earn more income through traceability and green labelling in post harvest activities, creating a curated marketplace with E2E traceability while connecting demand and supply

2.How difficult was it for you to establish nurture.farm?

nurture.farm has been established with a vision to transform the agriculture ecosystem in India, making it more transparent, resilient, profitable and sustainable. We plan to achieve this by infusing technology at all levels, for which we need to educate and empower those involved within this ecosystem. We are a fairly new name, so creating recall, visibility and trust for the platform in the initial days, especially during the COVID times, was our main challenge. Getting farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices such as decomposing leftover crop stubble rather than burning it or adopting less water-intensive paddy farming through AWD-DSR – involve behavioural shifts which require training and handholding during the entire crop lifecycle. Additionally, to establish traceability, adoption of farm mechanisation, better market linkages and trade facilities, we need farmers to adopt change and technology, and these are big asks at the grassroots level. To accomplish this, we recruit and train a robust field force from these villages, who act as agents of change for these farmers, educating and guiding them of the benefits of enrolling themselves into our app and our various sustainability programs.

3.What is the road ahead for the company?

At nurture.farm, we have a mindset of doing small things well to achieve the large outcomes we are aspiring for. We were established in December 2019, and within this short period, we are the leading AgTech platform of India, with 1.4 Million+ using our nurture.farm platform and 80,000 AgInputs retailers using our nurture.retail platform. We have serviced 5 Mn+ acres in India across Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra. Our farmer base grew 5x times vis a vis last year, our retailer base has tripled, and we have multiplied our acres serviced by four times. We intend to continue our journey in 2022 and are bullish about our mission to become the AgTech platform of choice for everyone involved across the agriculture value chain.

4.How is it solving the problem of sustainability?

At nurture.farm, sustainability remains at the core of all our offerings. In 2021, nurture.farm launched the Crop Residue Management (CRM) Program – the largest project ever to eliminate stubble burning in India. The program’s overall objective was to combine biotechnology, digitalisation and farm mechanisation to facilitate over 25,000 farmers and service more than 4,20,000 acres across the states of Punjab and Haryana so that they decompose their crop stubble instead of burning it. This is by far the most extensive attempt at eliminating crop stubble burning in India. We intend to take this mission further the following year by bringing more than a million acres under the program. We are also piloting projects in the paddy growing belts of Punjab and United Andhra Pradesh wherein we are training farmers to produce rice by adopting AWD-DSR methods, which reduces carbon emissions and lowers the water intensiveness of the paddy crop. Once successfully implemented, we wish to scale up these initiatives and back them up with green labelling and carbon credits so that the farmers profit from these sustainable agriculture practices.

5.How has the pandemic affected your business?

We were a company formed during the pandemic times. We have evolved around the challenges it posed, coming out stronger every time. The Indian agriculture sector was among the few segments that remained robust amid the pandemic miseries, expected to register a growth rate of 3.5 per cent in the current financial year ending March 2022. We grew along the sector, facilitating a shared economy platform and infusing sustainable practices making the entire ecosystem for our farmer partners more scientific, resilient and profitable.

6.How does the government support startups?

The current decade, also referred to as India’s ” techade “, has ushered in massive changes to strengthen innovation, entrepreneurship, and the startup ecosystem. The Govt with its encouraging policies, is enabling startups to innovate various services which were otherwise considered conventional or unsolvable. With the largest working population India has ever seen and the outburst of the internet as a service, the Indian youth is today equipped to solve problems that previously did not have a voice or a face. Supportive government policies boost confidence and give more and more youngsters the necessary push to take risks with respect to their ideas and drive changes. 


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