In Conversation with Ramesh Ramachandran, Senior Vice President - Strategy and Precision Farming at Mahindra and Mahindra's Farm Equipment Business

Ramesh Ramachandran, Senior Vice President - Strategy and Precision Farming at Mahindra and Mahindra's Farm Equipment Business
Ramesh Ramachandran, Senior Vice President - Strategy and Precision Farming at Mahindra and Mahindra's Farm Equipment Business

In a discussion with Krishi Jagran, Ramesh Ramachandran, Senior Vice President - Strategy and Precision Farming at Mahindra and Mahindra's Farm Equipment Business explained their Krish-e brand, its inception, purpose, and how its helping farmers find a solution to all their farm-related problems.

What is the objective of Krish-e, the brand launched by Mahindra, and how does it aim to improve the income of farmers and other stakeholders?

Krish-e is a brand launched by Mahindra with the objective of improving the income of farmers and other stakeholders. The brand comprises three components: Advisory, Rental, and Used Tractor/Equipment. While all three are aimed at creating a positive impact, their level of maturity varies.

In the rental segment, Krish-e leverages advanced technology and IoT solutions to target owners of farm equipment who are renting their assets. The IoT solution has a tangible impact on their profits, making it a popular choice. In the used tractor market, Krish-e aims to organize and add value to the buying and selling of tractors and equipment, though this is still in the design stage.

Krish-e's Advisory segment operates on a unique physical model, working directly with farmers on the field. They work with farmers on one-acre plots throughout the crop season, combining agronomy and mechanization practices. This approach has had a significant impact on farmers' income, with reported increases ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 rupees per acre. Krish-e partners with KVK officials to validate the yield and digitizes all interventions made with farmers. The Krish-e App is used to amplify the impact of their practices and to influence other farmers in the village to adopt similar practices. The Krish-e partners will work the plots on behalf of Krish-e, making it a scalable solution.

What is the Krish-e Smart Kit, and how does it help to address the lack of mechanization among farmers in India?

Krish-e Smart Kit is a solution that helps the rental ecosystem, where 20 million farmers in India lack mechanization. Out of 120 million tractor users, only 10 million own tractors. Krish-e's aim is to organize the rental market by bringing the entire supply side to the platform. The Krish-e Smart Kit is a plug-in IoT kit, which is brand agnostic and can be attached to any tractor. The kit enables the owner to track the tractor's location, mileage, fuel usage, number of trips, and more through the Krish-e app. This solution has transformed the lives of rental entrepreneurs and has a resubscription rate of 70% after the first free six months. Krish-e has already sold 3000 kits in Africa and plans to expand to countries where Mahindra has a presence.

You mentioned you sell the Krish-e kits at Rs 5000. what is the percentage of growth the farmers are getting from using the smart kit?

About 12-35% depending on the different starting points of different crops.

What is the per acre cost on average- what is the input cost incurring for the farmer?

The amount of input cost for crops varies depending on the crop, with higher costs for crops where the seed is expensive. This can account for up to 60% of the input cost. Additionally, there are expenses for chemicals used in the crop production process.

In our advisory-led model, we offer free advice to farmers and build unique relationships with them. We aim to monetize the products used to improve their crops. As part of our recommendations, we insist that farmers treat their seeds with a specific product, which they must purchase. We also encourage the use of mechanized transplanters for optimal results.

What benefits are the farmer getting from Krish-e?

The value derived from diesel-level estimation and accounting features is not easily replicable. These features were developed using Carno technology, of which we are the majority holders, but it is still run as an independent start-up. It took us 4-5 years of hard work to get the acreage calculations accurate. If a farmer finds out that the acreage is not correct, they are unlikely to use our technology again.

Our team has invested over 5 million hours into feeding data into the system, which has helped us to refine our technology and gain a competitive edge. This has allowed us to polish our advantages and offer a superior service to farmers.

The Krish-e app has acquired how many downloads?

We currently have 30,000 users on our new model, which represents a departure from our previous approach. Our goal is to create meaningful engagement with farmers to ensure a high usage rate of our platform. We have observed a high number of downloads during campaigns, but usage tends to drop off afterward.

To address this issue, we aim to foster organic engagement with farmers. This means building authentic relationships with our users and ensuring that our platform provides tangible benefits that encourage ongoing usage. By prioritizing engagement, we believe we can create a sustainable, long-term user base that will help drive the success of our platform.

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