India | Climate Smart Agriculture

Impact in the spotlight: one-stop shop enhances output and life of Indian farmers

18 July 2023 9:28

Be it rice, peas, eggplants or bananas, Indian agtech company DeHaat ensures a swift journey from field to shopping basket. They use an app and an extensive local distribution network for farmers in central, northern and western India to achieve this. In addition, DeHaat provides agricultural products and advice, as well as food storage and distribution channels. Through thousands of outlets produce from farmers reaches consumers incredibly quickly.

Voorgevels van 2 winkels met werkende mensen op de stoep

1.8 million+

registered farmers


DeHaat Centres

Millions of Indian smallholder farmers pay intermediaries high fees to sell their produce. That is, if it doesn't perish on the way to market, where it often fetches a low price anyway. With their app and a local network of more than 11,000 DeHaat Centers, DeHaat creates a direct link between farmers and buyers. The app provides crucial information on the latest market prices and puts farmers in contact with buyers, to whom they can sell directly at a fair price. They subsequently deliver their harvest to a DeHaat Center, where they immediately receive the payment. At the moment DeHaat serves around 1.8 million farmers across 118,000 villages in India.

Ram Kumar en Devendra Sharma
man bekijkt DeHaat app
Winkeliers bij de kassa met DeHaat app

DeHaat Centers are run as franchise by someone from the local community. They supply premium agricultural input products at the right time, the right price and the right quality, and training is offered physically as well as digitally to properly educate farmers by DeHaat agronomists. Ram Kumar is such a franchise owner. He has a DeHaat Centre where he sells agricultural input products, advises farmers and provides temporary storage for farm produce sold. Thanks to the great number of such centers in the country, most farmers don't have to travel far to take advantage of DeHaat's services.

Winkelier verkoopt zak rijst aan vrouw
2 mannen leggen grote zak met rijst op een stapel
2 ondernemers in hun winkel

The DeHaat app also gives farmers important forecasts and advice. It calculates expected harvest yields and the expected demand for produce, for instance. In addition, weather reports and warnings about crop diseases help farmers anticipate unexpected situations. DeHaat agronomy experts visit farms to collects datasets and teach farmers in a customized way as per soil samples and historical cropping patterns. Like Dr. Pramod Murari, who is showing farmer Bhartendu here about farm management. DeHaat also analyzes the soil sample in order to offer a tailored advice on soil fertilization.

meeting in dorp waar DeHaat-team het DeHaat systeem uitlegt
DeHaat app wordt uitgelegd aan boer
2 Indiase boeren in een veld
Devendra Sharma in gesprek met boer Gaurav Singh

The final step in the system, the storage and efficient market linkage of the harvest that has been sold, is also transparently managed. Post-harvest loss is significantly reduced thanks to local storage, reliable transportation to regional warehouses and demand led aggregation. Here, millet is collected for transportation. And in the DeHaat warehouse in Kasgani (Uttar Pradesh), rice lies safely and dry beneath blue cloths, ready for buyers to supply to consumers.

warenhuis in Kasganj voor de opslag van rijst die DeHaat van boeren koopt
2 ondernemers in warenhuis bekijken DeHaat app
DeHaat koopt mais van boeren
Fiets met kar, vol met waren

Rabo Foundation & DeHaat

Where many banks had declined to do business with DeHaat, Rabo Foundation saw the potential of what was then still a rather early-stage start-up in 2017. 'We met them during a demonstration day for start-ups in the agricultural sector,' explains Bram Spann, Program Manager for Rabo Foundation in Asia. 'DeHaat faced a problem that is common for Indian start-ups: mainstream Indian banks find them too risky to finance.'

With the support of Rabo Foundation, that changed. 'It's our biggest added value: to get on board when others don't yet dare. Thanks to our guarantee product, a local financier issued a working capital loan with which DeHaat could quickly expand its operations. It was such a success that we were soon able to withdraw, as other parties in the market began to see their potential, too. This working capital loan to DeHaat helped the model to scale up faster and early in the following year DeHaat raised its first institutional equity round. DeHaat now has enough financiers, which means that our role in terms of funding is played. In this case, a small beginning brought great results.'

Reinforcing the value chain from farm to plate. And cutting post-harvest losses at the same time. Those are two important objectives of Rabo Foundation that find prominence in our partnership with DeHaat.