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Agri-tech start-up DeHaat looks to expand pan-India footprint with focus on smallholder farmers


JANUARY 17, 2022

Farmers linked to DeHaat have access to more than 3,000 agricultural inputs. (File)

In a bid to expand its outreach among farmers with small holdings, DeHaat, a technology-based start-up that currently provides services from seed to markets to farmers in the eastern and central regions, aims at expanding its presence across the southern and western parts of the country in the next one year.

According to Shashank Kumar, co-founder & CEO of DeHaat, the company has established linkages with around 7 lakh smallholder farmers in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh through its 4,000 Dehaat centres, which are run via the franchise model.

“In the next one year, we will expand our network amongst farmers of Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,” Kumar told FE. The company has been focussing on providing a range of services, referred to as Beejse Baazar Tak, to smallholder farmers.

DeHaat centres aggregates over 30 agricultural crops — cereals, fruits and vegetables — from farmers on their network and directly supplies it to more than 600 bulk buyers, including retail chains, e-commerce players, FMCG giants and food processors. As per state-specific requirement, the company has taken trading licences in agricultural produce market committee (APMC) markets; it also provides access to financial services to farmers.

Farmers linked to DeHaat have access to more than 3,000 agricultural inputs such as seed, fertilizers and pesticides, along with an artificial intelligence (AI)-based customised crop advisory on pest and disease management, delivered via a mobile app and call centres.

The company currently facilitates transactions of `150–160 crore each month on its platform.

“Farmers save around 8% to 12% of cost of seed, pesticides and fertiliser when they purchase through Dehaat platform,” Kumar said. He said that DeHaat also ensure farmers can buy quality agricultural inputs near their farms, thus saving on transportation.

The company does not charge for the satellite-based crop advisory from the farmers. On Friday, DeHaat announced the acquisition of Maharashtra-based B2B agri-input marketing start-up Helicrofter,which has more than 2,000 retailers and 30 sellers.

DeHaat had raised $ 115 million in October 2021 from investors led by Sofina and Lightrock. It also recently acquired another start-up, FarmGuide, which helped it integrate satellite-based crop advisory solutions to farmers. DeHaat is also supported by investors such as Prosus Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, RTP Global, FMO and Omnivore.

According to estimates, there are 600–700 agritech start-ups in the country that use technologies such as AI, machine learning, internet of things, etc for providing services to farmers.

Courtesy/Source: The Financial Express