Smart Krishi: Bringing Agriculture at your fingertips

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Smart Krishi: Bringing Agriculture at your fingertips

 

Agriculture – the mainstay of the economy in Nepal – provides a livelihood for more than 70% of the population and accounts for a little over one-third of the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] according to the reports provided by Department of Archaeology. The problem with agriculture is that today’s youths are not interested in agro-business. One the most contributing causes to the problem could be the brain-drain as subsequent to the constant political unrest. However, many people have not realized that agriculture is the golden ticket to profit making and developing economy. According to the reports by the UNDP [United Nation’s Development Project], the potential of agricultural growth to reduce poverty is four times greater than the potential of growth from other sectors.

 

With such picture in the real market and with how technology has taken shape, Smart Krishi has made it possible to fuse the traditional agro-business with modern and technologically sound app-market.  

 

The Root of the Idea

Unlike those other youths, Anil Regmi always thought of doing something affiliated to agriculture. He was also never fond of getting hired, and with the way the world of work was changing around him, he wanted to do something on his own and become his own boss. Having observed how his parents were living a nine-to-five job, he realized those sort of jobs were not meant for him. “One fine day, I was rushing through Kalimati market and saw farmers who were crying out because they were forced to sell their products at a very low price,” says Anil. That incident and his desire of doing something related to agriculture triggered the idea of making agriculture as a profession while taking the help of ICT [Information Communication and Technology]. And Smart Krishi (can be translated to English as ‘Smart Agriculture’) was born out of it. In the meantime, NCELL app camp had just been launched. He participated with his app and the idea was awarded amongst the ‘workable 33 ideas’. But he could not make it to finals. That did not stop him, however. He didn’t get over the idea and continued to work on it. 

 

What is Smart Krishi?

Smart Krishi, as the name suggests, is a revolutionizing smartphone app (first of its kind in Nepal) that caters to every aspects of farming activities and large pool of relevant information for empowerment of professional Nepali agriculture. The main aim of Smart Krishi is to galvanize the spirit of farming, bond different regions and help agriculture grow. It inspires the youth to take up agriculture with a lot of emphasis on organic and profitable farming. It provides technical information on farming of “high-value low-product”, such as kiwi, asparagus, and so on, which includes from planning to post-processing and storage stage.

 

The Journey 

At the very start of the business, Anil realized that just enlisting the market price of agricultural products would not make the app popular. Soon after, he did the ground work for around one month. During that short period of time, many specialists like Shiva Adhikari and Dr. Jalendra Rizal helped nurture his idea with constructive feedbacks. In the meantime, Deepti Adhikari and Niranjan Pandey who had agricultural background joined the team and helped in generating and shaping the contents. Sudip Singh was also there to help with his endless support in technical area. Sudip helped in developing and designing the program. They were the core members who helped fine tune the app. Anil generated initial funding through bootstrapping which was almost fifty thousand. Then the real journey started. 

The Early Problems 

It was difficult for Anil while starting. Everyone did not support the idea of Smart Krishi. But there were enough people to prop it up and handful of helping hands were laid out during take-off period. He also had torrid time finding people who resonated with his idea. He looked for people who were excited and committed enough to the idea, and when he couldn’t he hard a hard-time instilling excitement and commitment amongst the members. He was also finding it difficult to generate money in short-run and thus, had a daunting task to keep his team intact. 

 

User-base and Downloads

Having been focused on expanding the user base, the app is successful till now with 13,000+ downloads and 5000+ active users. 

 

Future Plan

The market of Smart Krishi is not only limited to Nepal. Agriculture is a global business and Smart Krishi can be launched to take it cross-border. It’s not an easy task to do. But with great effort, Anil and his team plans to broaden the horizon. They are planning to increase their user base by developing their app for Apple as well as Windows phone users. Furthermore, focusing on those people who don’t have smartphones in rural areas, they want to provide customized service through SMS.

 

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Guest Thursday, 26 May 2022