Desta – Linked, Decentralized and Self-Sustaining Platform

The agriculture community is very close knit and will remain so for decades to come.

In the present situation a typical farmer doesn’t know what he wants to grow on his farm. He consults with progressive farmers in his village and then takes advice from dealers in the nearby market. What makes it worse is that 75% of the farmers are not aware of the right prices for the inputs even if they are aware of the products they need to buy.

The companies manufacture and hold inventory of up to 40% extra every year. Being unsure of the demand, products are given to the dealers or other channel partners on credit. And for the same reason, sales returns are allowed. Seed suppliers see as much as 30% sales returns and around 10% of the total production is lost in this process. The value of this loss would be $800 million every year. These kind of inefficiencies drives the cost up for the farmers.

Dealers on the other hand, invest heavily in the products they stock and base their decisions on the recommendation of the manufacturer’s sales team. To maintain cash flow and make profit, low-value products are pushed to farmers quite often.

The dealers are stationed at their shop and rely on store walk-ins to make a sale. Promotion and building customer network is largely alien terms for the dealer community.

Understanding the need of a platform to solve these issues faced by Indian agriculture community, Ronald Bohem and Nishant Banore, co-founders of DestaGlobal bonded on the idea of setting up a social enterprise almost a decade ago, when they met at a conference held at the Indian School of Business campus. Later in 2017, Siddhartha Choudhary (Co-founder and CEO, DestaGlobal) joined the team and evolved company’s business model to what it is today.

DestaGlobal is devoted to Agriculture for the last 9 years. Our flagship product, DestaMart is a B2B e-commerce platform which brings together Agri manufacturers and dealers. 2000+ Dealers and 100+ Ag Manufacturers are on their platform today.

Company’s e-commerce extension to the farmer is a mobile app, Siddhi Kisan, where choicest of inputs are available to farmers, with savings on each product and valuable agriculture information is available in local language. Nearly 98,000 farmers in Maharashtra have downloaded the app. They are discovering dealers near them, finding offers on products they need to buy, and networking with fellow farmers. Farmers buying from this app, save 2 weeks of their annual household income. This mobile application is available to the farmers at no cost.

The mobile app for dealers, allows them to promote products from their shops to farmers around them. This DIY app, Siddhi Dealer, also gives insights to the dealer about the market and customers so that they can grow their customer base and take the right business decisions.

The dealer and farmer apps work in sync with each other.

Agri-input manufacturers:

1. run special schemes for their dealers to clear stock and ultimately helps pass benefits to the farmers. In other words, they build a loyal customer base.

2. Can re-market to the farmers: most marketing campaigns or sales meetings result in unactionable data. Using this platform, farmers are live which means the companies can interact, re-market and re-target multiple times. This increases the chances of the customer making a purchase hence increasing the Marketing effectiveness.

The dealers are Desta’s strongest allies. All e-commerce companies by-pass the dealers to home-deliver to farmers. When a farmer books a product on the Desta app, the product offer is always for a particular dealer. Desta is the only e-commerce company, around the world, with such a business model.

The company also work with progressive farmers in the villages who are their spokesperson and help us empower and train the farming community. 260 such ambassadors, named KrishiDoots, are their partners today.

Every village that Desta’s teams go to, they build partnership with the Sarpanch and get to understand the needs of the farming community so that Desta could negotiate great prices from the manufacturer when they order in bulk.

Siddhi, Desta’s mascot, is a girl child. Their marketing communication also speaks to the children as company understand they are tech savvy and also are the biggest influencers at home.

Other Agri companies work around the growing season. Company’s work with farmers and dealers, however, is throughout the year.

Desta have three major business imperatives:

1) To build an inter-connected, communicative, transparent platform connecting the key stakeholders of the agriculture input ecosystem. It took us 5 years to build the complete platform. The system is complete now that company’s farmer and dealer apps are connected with our e-commerce platform. Desta have a good number of companies, dealers and farmers using the system. Now that the testing is done and the revenue model is proven, the plan is to bring more users from other districts and states in India.

2) Decentralized system: Desta’s farmers and dealers are trained on the ground to use the apps effectively. They send them video tutorial in local language for them to know how to use the apps for their max benefit.

When a dealer signs up his virtual store gets created which is visible to farmers in a certain radius of his shop. More active the dealers are, high chances of them connecting with new customers around them. Farmers can post deals of products they need and dealers around them can then bid for it. Village ambassadors, who usually are influential farmers, do meetings with farmers and bring them on our platform. So the system incentivizes and encourages different people in the local communities to come online and add value to each other.

3) Self Sustenance: Dealers are incented to get their loyal farmers onboard. Manufacturers want their dealers and farmers online and hence are working with us to do so. Manufacturers and dealers are posting schemes for the farmers so the farmers get the best of brands available at great discounts. This makes Desta’s app very attractive thus helps bring more farmers to their system. The company have ground presence in 5 districts while their farmer and dealer apps have been downloaded in 8-10 other districts and they are benefiting from using the system on their own, without the need of Desta team being in that region. Company believe that this is very powerful and soon they will see the platform spreading to entire Agriculture regions of India.

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