Partners in Precision Agriculture
“Global agriculture is facing an unprecedented challenge. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to swell by two billion people. Beyond the sheer number of mouths to feed, this growth will bring a fundamental shift in diets around the world as more prosperous populations seek more protein, demand higher-quality food. Food demand will double in the next three decades with a 50 percent increase in protein demand”, says Stephen Praveen, Founder & Director of Tusker Berry Agri Ventures.
Tusker Berry, a Business consulting firm, sensed this opportunity and chose to diversify into agriculture in addition to their core business.
We understood that the farmers needed help in navigating through complex policies and cumbersome bank procedures to access government subsidies, and then there were new enhanced precision farming technologies. In the dearth of right consultation, more than 50percentof the farmers get beaten down at agronomy support—for most, their local pesticide dealer is the best consultant. Thus, agriculture becomes a loss making profession for most. While the value proposition for a big farmer with more than 25-50 acres is completely different, most small farmers are often at the receiving end of the business.The dawn of aggregation had thought us invaluable lessons and chose to share it for the benefit of rural farmers.
In the light of these limitations, we felt the need to build an entire ecosystem starting with support management in banking and agronomy to crop planning, seed and inputs supply to buy back and marketing in the end.
It has taken about three years to develop and perfect our systems. Here are some of its key features
1. Precision Agriculture
To start it off we advised the farmers to convert 1/3of their arable landholding into a protected area to grow crops in a protected environment shielded from excessive wind, rains, sun, and pest infestation. We asked them to grow vegetable crops in this patch and sell it back to us. We call it controlled farm. The farmers used drip laying, rain guns and other forms of precision technologies to irrigate the area.
With this infrastructure, if managed well, the net profit can shoot up to anything between 6 to 8 lakhs per acre per annum since the green house management is as low as 60,000 thousand to 1 lakh.
2. Banking & Subsidy
Most farmers are not aware of the subsidy schemes available and how to access them. We assist them through the way and have recorded a 100 percent success rate. The farmers get their subsidies on time and thus plan ahead the cropping season. We also assist them with setting up the Greenhouse which cost about 45 lakhs; the government provides a 50percentsubsidy and banks give easy loans. Most often, the entire structure is put up with little or no money out of the farmer’s pocket. Once the subsidy is process,50percentof the loan also pre-closes in the first 4 or 5 months of operations. The remaining amount is paid back from earnings over the next 2-3 years at max. Hence, the farmer can viably use the technology for next 30-40 years for a bare minimum initial investment and reap steady profits in his life time.
3. Advisory Support
There are more cases of failures in the precision farming than success stories. In most of these cases, the farmer buys high equipment but does not know how to use. We have specialise on this aspect in our business model. At Tusker Berry Agri Ventures, Agronomy support is an independent division.
This division develops on crop planning—what to sow and when to sow deliberating on the demand and supply of items traded, local weather and other factors. We share this knowledge with the farmers after a thorough due diligence, assisting them with product development and ROI calculations.
Inputs Advisory – What to give to plants
This is our signature area. We not only help the farmers with what to grow, but also with how to grown it. We have an integrated pest management and other biological formats for crop support. We go at lengths to identify the most niche bio products in the industry, sometimes imported from Cuba, United States, and Mangolia, to addresses specific issues such as thrips and mites, flowering, growth promotion etc., to bring out absolute high-quality products safe for human food.
4. Buy Back & Marketing Operations
It’s the high octane area where we and the farmer reap the revenues. We buy back from the farmers at a pre-agreed price and supply to international food markets. Tusker Berry has an office in Singapore to propagate international businesses avenues in this area and our supplies are currently directed to United Kingdom and Malaysia.
Today, Tusker Berry is in talks with many other players in Austria, Germany and the Russian Federation for further exports.
Being a non-funded start-up with zero debt, exports have kept us from becoming cash strapped due to its nature of immediate payments, where we have been able to pass on to the farmers the same benefits.
By Stephen - Founder & Director