Kisan Network is a 70-person group that has established a network that reaches over 50,000 farmers in over 6,000 communities throughout India.

Kisan Network is an online agricultural marketplace in India. Aditya Agarwalla and Sanjay K Agarwalla launched it in August 2015. Y Combinator, Thiel Fellowship, and TechCrunch have all invested in the startup.

The Kisan Network aspires to bring together all players in India’s conventional and inefficient agricultural economy. In reality, the corporation needs to service more than 100 million growers across India. The corporation has a big ambition for the country’s agriculture industry, which is estimated to be worth over $200 billion.“With the building blocks of our supply chain in place, we believe that we are the cusp of becoming an even larger pan-India player in the market. This investment will aid the rapid expansion into new regions and crops across the country, bringing lakhs of more marginal farmers into the fold and helping them ship hundreds of more trucks directly from their farms to businesses,” Agarwalla, chief executive officer, Kisan Network, said.

This Gurugram-based firm, which began as Aditya Agarwalla’s undergraduate thesis project at Princeton University, claims to be working with around 55,000 farmers scattered over 6,000 communities in Asia’s third-largest economy.“We see immense value in Kisan Network’s focus in providing market linkages directly to farmers, and their progress so far in building out each aspect of their tech enabled supply chain is highly promising,” Atsushi Taira managing director at Mistletoe Singapore, said in a company-issued statement.

How does the Kisan Network work?

Farmers may use the Kisan Network app to market their products and find possible consumers outside of their local mandi. After the purchase is completed online, Kisan transports the produce from the farmer to the buyer, keeping all parties in the same place.

Farmers keep more than they would under the traditional method, in which middleman after middleman bids up the price of the crop before it reaches a final customer. Kisan’s charge ranges from 5 to 15% of the sale, and farmers keep more than they would under the traditional system.“Even with low-margin crops like potatoes, we have been able to offer 10 percent more than prevalent market rates. That’s what our entire goal is,” says Aditya. “Venturing into higher-margin crops, the improvement goes up.”

How simple is it for farmers to use the Kisan network?

The application is simple to use and can operate on low-cost smartphones. A farmer can market their crops and upload their crops for free on the Kisan Network.They list the crops they have and the price they desire for them, and Kisan Network will contact purchasers to see if there is a match. At the village level, the corporation has local ambassadors who work with farmers to identify when they plan to harvest.Kisan Network connects farmers with buyers and then instructs them on how to collect their crops. Sorting, grading, processing, and shipping the produce to purchasers are all done by the company (which range from small and medium-sized businesses, to single restaurants, to industrial snack makers).

“Typically middle men in India… the cut that’s transparent is 11%. But there are degrees of middlemen so we really don’t know,” says the senior Aggarwalla. “With taxes and charges of labor, it can be more.”

The company looks to be working for farmers like Balachandrudu (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh), Farmer, whose testimonial shows up on the website.

Problems of selling in Mandi – “We are facing many problems at Kurnool market mandi. We have to wait for 3 to 4 days and after this they purchase our onions. They do not give money on the same day. First they give 10,000 rupees advance and after 10 days, they pay the balance. We are also charged for “hamali” and the weighing cost.” (Translated from Telugu)

Success of Kisan Network

Kisan Network, India’s tech-enabled agricultural supply chain,  has secured $3 million in an investment round headed by Mistletoe Capital’s Atsushi Taira. Kisan Network plans to utilise the funds to swiftly extend its supply network across the country, bringing lakhs of additional marginal farmers into the fold and allowing them to send hundreds of trucks directly to companies from their fields.