1. Success Story

Meet These IIT and IIM Students who are Helping Farmers to Change India’s Agriculture Scenario

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia
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Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for at least 58 percent of India’s population and therefore the government is planning to make India an agriculture-based economy. 

India’s primary wealth is agriculture and the Government is launching different schemes and Yojana’s to help the farmers with the best way. But the harsh reality is that only a few farmers are properly benefitting from it while others are not aware of what’s happening in the world. There is a huge gap between those schemes and grassroots level people. 

And the reality is that while the government has put various schemes in place to ease farmers’ worries about water scarcity, crop cycle and more, there is still a long way to go. 

To bridge this gap, Tauseef Khan and Nishant Mahatre, who were batchmates at both IIT-Kharagpur and IIM-Ahmedabad, founded ‘Gramophone’, an agritech startup who strongly believe that technology can remove information asymmetry in the agricultural system, the duo created an app that brings timely information and inputs required to achieve better yield for farmers. 

Speaking about the journey, Tauseef Khan, Co-founder, and CEO of Gramophone says, “Our goal is to bring the best agricultural products, information, and knowledge to the farmers. Our app, which can easily be downloaded on any mobile device via Google Play store, is a one-stop solution for farmers, where they can buy genuine crop protection, crop nutrition, seeds, implements, and agri -hardware at their doorstep.” 

Farmers can further access localized practice, crop advisory on the best products to grow, and weather information. This helps them to not only improve productivity but also sustainably increase their income from agriculture, said the optimistic founder of Gramophone. 

Later that year, Ashish Rajan (33), Co-founder and childhood friend of Tauseef, along with Harshit (28) another Co-founder joined the gramophone team. 

The Gramophone app has a six-pronged approach to help farmers increase their productivity: Input Planning, Support & Advisory, Quality, Availability, Convenience, and Cost-effectiveness.   

Input Planning helps farmers understand their land better by facilitating soil testing and crop nutrition management. The Support & Advisory function aims to reduce information asymmetry by giving advisory weather and mandi prices to the farmers. 

Quality enables farmers to procure the best and most authentic products from reliable suppliers, while Availability ensures the range of products arrive in a timely manner, and that the farmers are abreast with new developments in the market. Convenience enables farmers to receive products right at their doorstep. Lastly, the Cost-effectiveness function ensures products are sold at a more competitive price than the original market price. 

The startup also has a toll-free number that provides the same tools to the farmers who do not have access to the app or a smartphone. A member of the company with an agricultural background also gets in touch with the farmer.   

Gramophone conducts field visits too, wherein the team visits the farm, observes the nature of the soil and climate, and provides farming and cultivating solutions. 

The biggest challenge for the co-founders, till date, has been when they first conducted site visits and interacted with farmers in Madhya Pradesh about the prospects of launching the gramophone app. 

“When we went to the rural villages for the first time, it was definitely a challenge as we were outsiders entering their space. The initial reaction from the farmers was, ‘Who are you? We have been doing this sort of cultivation for years.’ Getting them to understand and trust the authenticity of Gramophone was an early challenge. However, with time we have been able to build their trust and earn credibility,” Nishant says. 

The biggest impact that Gramophone has brought to farmers is that it is slowly changing their mindset and the way they view farming. They have now come to realize that agriculture has endless possibilities. 

Ramkishan ji Kanardi, a farmer from MP, who has greatly benefited from the gramophone app states, 

“When I first went to the Gramophone office in Indore, they taught me how to use the app. This was quite handy for me as it provided me with the weather forecast and prediction of rains beforehand. Also, the app told me if there was any disease in my crop, and if so, how it can be cured with suitable medicine. In case there is any need to be addressed, the office gets notified and rings me up to provide me with a solution, unlike others who market a particular brand, gramophone tells me what would work best for me and my crop.” 

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