1. Agriculture World

Launch of “Kisan Rath” – An Important Step towards Digitalisation of Indian Agriculture

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee

As per official figures Indian users comprise nearly one third of 30% of the total volume of the global feature phone market. The country in the recent decade has experienced Agriculture sector getting digitalized. This implies increasing use of Information and Communication Technology to support the transmission of localized information and services working towards making farming socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, and at the same time, contributing to the delivery of nutritious and economical food for the population. This would explain rise and development of mobile apps, helping existing government schemes, and other agriculture-based information in reaching the farming community of the in rural India. In all, this type of “digital transformation” can be a game-changer for Indian Agribusiness climate in the long run.

Transportation is a crucial factor important for successful farming. Transportation of agri produce is critical and indispensable component of the supply chain. In order to produce food, farmers need certain resources, such as seed, fertilizers, pesticides, packaging materials, and many others. Therefore transport is an essential aspect of crop production that enables delivery of agricultural resources to a farmer. It would not be wrong to say that the story of efficient farm management begins and ends with efficient and properly managed transport.

In terms of post-harvest crop management, transportation becomes all the more important. After all, every harvested crop needs to be transported, either directly from the field to the market, or to the packing house and cold storages/warehouses. If the transport system is managed efficiently in timely delivering of farm resources and harvested crop, then farming becomes successful and profitable. In context to delivering the crops to the market, transport is responsible for the preservation of crop yield and quality. Additionally, transport is advantageous for providing ample scope for reducing total production cost if managed economically. The Launch of Kisan App is seen as an important step towards Digitalisation of Agriculture and providing economically viable Agriculture based solutions for the Indian farmers. 

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare had launched a farmer friendly mobile application in the month of April to facilitate farmers & traders in searching transport vehicles for Primary and Secondary transportation for movement of Agriculture & Horticulture produce. Primary transportation included movement from Farm to Mandis, FPO Collection Centre and Warehouses etc. Secondary Transportation on the other hand included movement from Mandis to Intra-state & Inter-state mandis, Processing units, Railway station, Warehouses and Wholesalers etc. The App was launched by the Government in a bid to facilitate transportation of food grain and perishables during lockdown in India. According to PM Modi the Kisan Rath Mobile App will be made available in 8 languages on Android version initially. The Assam government has also introduced this app in the state on October 6th and with the aim of connecting more than 10,000 farmers, 50 farmer-producer organizations and 1,000 verified agricultural traders on its interface.

Functioning of Kisan Rath App:

The Consignors i.e. farmer, FPOs, buyer/ trader shall place a query/requirement for transportation on this app which will be disseminated to transport aggregators in the market. The aggregators in turn shall negotiate with various truckers and fleet owners in order to obtain a competitive quote against the requirement and then pass back the quote and trucker details to the Consignor. After this step the Consignor will directly speak with the trucker and finalize the deal. Once the trip is completed, the user can provide a rating/ feedback for the trucker in the App which, over a period of time, becomes feedback mechanism for the transporter to improve their services. In future this process will be beneficial for the Consignors in selecting the process of Logistics Service Providers.

Advantages of Using Kisan Rath App: 

First benefit is the opening up of markets across the country for the farmers of respective states and farmers to obtain maximum returns of their produce. So this app will act as an important medium in boosting the agri-business activities. Another key feature or benefit will be the minimization of malpractices of middlemen, ultimately creating new market opportunities for farmers and increasing their bargaining power.

With Kisan Rath, transportation hassles are likely to ease while harvesting and sowing operations continue.  This is because the farmers and traders will have convenience in transporting produce from farm gate to mandi and mandi to mandi across the country. The “Kisan Rath” Mobile Application facilitates Farmers and Traders in identifying right mode of transportation for mobilizing the farm produce such as cereals, coarse cereals, fruits, vegetables, flowers, forest products etc. This App also has the advantage of enabling traders to transport perishable commodities by Refrigerated vehicles.  Under  present scenario when the country struggles to come out of the ongoing pandemic and lift the lockdown restrictions, launch of “Kisan Rath” is seen as a valuable platform in ensuring uninterrupted supply linkages between farmers, warehouses, FPOs, APMC mandis and intra-State & inter-State buyers. Besides, this app will be helpful in reducing food wastage by offering timely services, and on the whole these features are most likely to provide better prices for the perishable commodities.

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