Texmo Industries Est. 1956

Farming as a Service

Cloud computing, the internet, Big Data and so many more terms have entered everyday lives in a significant way. And technology has made it possible for sellers to deliver almost anything ‘as a service’ over a network. This is very different from the traditional model of delivering products on location. Such is the omnipresent nature of these ‘deliveries as a service’ that there is a term that encompasses them all - aaS which basically means ‘anything as a service’. 

It stands to reason, therefore, to talk about FaaS or Farming as a Service and how it is changing things in the Indian agriculture sector as well.

Farmer in a greenhouse

The need for FaaS in agriculture

Agriculture in India recorded positive growth despite the pandemic. And it touched the 20% mark when it came to its share in the GDP. This is cause for great cheer indeed! However, India has a long way to go when it comes to global ranking for agriculture productivity. 

India also faces multiple challenges:

  • Heavy dependence on rain water
  • Lack of access to technology
  • Growing demand for food
  • Climate change
  • Supply chain complexities and
  • Resource availability - arable land and labour

There is a lot of work going on at various levels (institution, individual, government etc) to improve things and this is where FaaS is emerging as a strong support system.

Key differentiators

FaaS aims to make farming more efficient by:

  • Reducing the fixed costs for a farmer and offer a pay-per-use alternative
  • Sharing relevant and real-time information with the farmer
  • Connecting farmers to markets across the country and give them the best prices available for raw materials and produce
  • Speeding up innovation in the production of farm equipment and
  • Creating more value in supply chain management as well

These are just a few of the areas in which FaaS can make a difference. 

The players

There are big & small companies and startups too in the FaaS sector in India. For instance, Mahindra & Mahindra, and TAFE are testing out models where farmers only pay for the equipment they use. Other startups such as Ninjacart & Agribolo are delivering support to farmers by:

  • Improving links to marketplaces
  • Connecting them to retailers directly and
  • Implementing models such as farm-to-mill or farm-to-warehouse

Some of the solutions provided by FaaS eliminate intermediaries and thus a farmer (and end user of their produce) can get better control over the supply chain and prices too. 

Problems such as price fluctuations, inefficiencies in distribution and non-availability of reliable information can be eliminated or at least handled in a more effective manner when there is democracy of data. And this is at the heart of FaaS - empowerment of the farmer with accessible and affordable solutions.

Automated machine operating in a greenhouse

It should be interesting to watch the growth of this technology, especially because the government has also placed a lot of emphasis on ‘digital agriculture’. Thus, Farming as a Service solutions are helping farmers with data driven decisions, better utility services, optimisation of labour services, allowing a farmer to rent equipment rather than buy the same and are giving farmers direct access to markets for seeds, fertilisers, end users and more.