E-commerce for Agro – a new way forward
In my last blog, I talked about how important MSMEs are for the Indian agriculture sector and how they can be the change drivers and flag bearers of the next agriculture revolution in the Indian economy. Today, I would like to focus on one particular aspect of MSMEs which can become a major market area, E-commerce.
Emergence of E-commerce and Indian consumers
I remember the days when Amazon and Flipkart started as online booksellers in India and bibliophiles like me just welcomed these platforms with open arms and warm hearts. It was a pure joy when you would receive a neatly packed book with some cute bookmarks added as a bonus to the package. Soon the companies grew big and ventured in many more product ranges from electronics to clothing and recently, to groceries. These pioneers are now almost like online supermarkets.
However, there are quite a few specialty platforms who are focusing on only one or two products like Myntra in clothing, Lenskart in eyeglasses and Medplus in medicines. These companies have carved their niche even in such a competitive market. E Commerce is now going to rural areas of the country too. Starting with just delivery services of established platforms, many village craft producers are now getting into their own e-commerce outlets.
Even though handicrafts and artistic stuff is getting into this field, the agriculture sector has rarely explored this method of product delivery. Bigbasket is one of the major players which has grabbed the initiative in doorstep delivery of food produce and groceries. However, there are many such avenues in the agriculture sector which can grow leaps and bounds with e-commerce. Even some small startups initiated by vegetable producers run on the same doorstep delivery model however. Sahyadri farms from Nashik and Green Tokri from Pune are just a couple of examples. They can become a model for many to follow.
Firstly, a doorstep delivery service of fresh produce is sadly the only idea that pops in a general mindset when we think about e-commerce in the agriculture sector. However, if we start thinking more and more about the sector, many other ideas will also emerge. For example, agro-processing MSMEs can start e-commerce of their processed goods. Small self-help groups can come together, start preparing good old traditional recipes of condiments, pickles etc. These quality products with traditional flavours will sell like hot cakes on the urban e-commerce market with attractive packaging. One most lucrative plus point of e-commerce is these small groups and MSMEs can just avoid middle-man from the trade cycle and make good money.
A bonus cascading effect
These increased profits in rural areas will always work fantastically in improving the quality of life in our rural areas. In turn, this will lead to the development of rural areas and reduce the pressure on Indian cities as more and more people will be ready to stay behind and live a good life.
Written as part of Blogchatter’s campaign #ECommerceInnovation. Read more posts in the campaign here.