ECommerce Software to help Farmers

Hello all,

I am a software consultant by Profession owning 40 acres of Coffee Estate. I am trying to develop an eCommerce portal. I thought of helping Farmers fetch better price for their produce and also enable export of agricultural commodities.

As a planter, I thought there must be a help to get buyers for the produce who offer better price. We were able to sell coffee or pepper at market prices (not sure whether it is the correct price). When we sell timber, we feel that we had been forced to undersell. There is no idea what is the market for timber and what will be the farm gate price.

With this background, I am having an idea of an e-commerce portal. I want to know from the members what sort of facilities the farmers will expect in the portal. Also there will be many farmers who do not know about internet and do not have access to the internet. How can we make it useful to those farmers?

Ideas from this forum will help me build a portal to serve the farmers of India.

Hi

Very noble thought, but i have one question.
Have you asked your local farmer what he thinks of your idea and will he support you and use your services?

In our area, people have accepted the market condition as way of life. They grow, harvest, go to market and come back with what the buyer gives them without a word of protest. So I think it is very difficult to alter this mentality that the farmers have grown comfortably into.
We tried to impart dairy knowledge, crop knowledge, etc. NOONE from nearby villagers were interested, almost as if they are scared to change.

Technology and coding is the easy part, the difficult part is to change farmer mentality and acceptance.

BTW, if you need help in coding, let me know, I have some free time in hand and am OK with html and PHP. In fact working on one project which hope gets over soon.

Nikhil

Thanks for your message Nikhil.

Hi Nikhil,

Please give your mail id. Hope u can see mine.

Mahesh R

Hi Mahesh,

Noble thought indeed.

Opensource e-commerce platforms like tomatocart,Virtue mart, opencart etc are easy to customize and integrate. A webserver with a static IP hosting the e-commerce site would do the job. So implementing the idea should not be an issue, but ideation is.

The first step here is to bring in innovation that would address the challenges we probably would face in such an e-commerce platform.

So, lets identify the challenges, what say?

Here’s my share: How do we ensure the quality of the produce thats traded?

Also, "what about farmers who dont have access to internet " can be reached through mobile alerts. They probably could call up and list their offer and get notified when a buyer shows up interest.

Regards,

Hi Saravanakumar,

Thanks for the message. BTW to ensure quality the seller must send a sample pack to the buyer and get it approved or get the sample approved by a reliable third party. In commodities, I understand that there are buying agents for big buyers. There must be some agencies to help for this and also for the cases where sellers do not have access to the internet.

The ideal system would be, the seller should give minimum expected price and the buyers should bid for it.

Mahesh R

Mahesh, arent we trying to take out the agents out of the supply chain equation, by establishing direct chainlink between buyer & seller through this proposed platform, so why square one??

How about sellers sign for a buy back agreement, that way we can filter ingenuine sellers, can we?

Regards,

Kumar,

There is a difference between a middleman and an agent. The agent gets only a commission for his service and that cost is worth the service. In those days of Coffee sales controlled by coffee board, there were Coffee Forwarding agents and their services were indispensable for the buyers in auction, as they need not run to the Delivery points where stocks are available. So it should be OK to have the  agencies who help the trade.

BTW how is a market fixed for a commodity. Who fixes the price and on what basis? In the economic theory demand and supply will fix the price. But in practice, the person who is able to fix the price - either seller or buyer does this. Often it is the buyer in agro trading, because the seller is not able to reach that many buyers.

I often felt bad about my inability to get a fair price for timber as I could not find a proper buyer. Timber traded at Rs 3000/- per cft in market was bought at just Rs 350/- per cft at farm gate with so many strings attached.

Mahesh,

True. As long as these agents help the trade and dont fix the trade, yes I as well agree, should be no harm.

Have you considered pros and cons of reverse bidding?

Regards,

Kumar,

I am not sure about the reverse bidding. The buyer who offers the best price must be able to get the deal. But the expected price of the seller must not be revealed.

Regards

Mahesh R