Dvara E-Registry- Providing Technologically Driven Holistic Solutions to Agri Value Chain
About Dvara E-Registry
Dvara E-Registry is an SBU of Dvara Trust that works with the vision to be the financial inclusion and productivity enabling platform for all stakeholders in the agricultural value chain. This is achieved by providing farm-level information, analytics and actionable insights by harnessing the transformative power of artificial intelligence, remote sensing and emerging technologies at scale along with our partners spanning the value chain.
Challenges addressed by Dvara E-Registry
Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) are farmer collectives that are designed to improve the economic and social capital of farmers. They especially serve as the aggregation point for small and marginal farmers. Most farmers and FPOs in India face colossal challenges like lack of access to credit and insurance, information about modern and productive farming methods that yield higher crop, knowledge about sorting and grading commodities which leads to lower price realization, a ready source on government scheme and their eligibility, and geography specific weather information. On top of these information gaps, farmers and FPOs face difficulty in acquiring agri-inputs and in selling their produce at fair prices. Small and marginalised farmers, in particular, find it extremely difficult to gain access to formal credit since they are deemed low value to financial institutions. According to the agricultural census of 2015 – 16 by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, while 86.2% of agricultural land is owned by small and marginalised farmers, 51% of them have access to no credit at all. Even among those who manage to get credit, 41% do so from informal sources with unreasonable rates of interest that is often implausible.
Narayan, a farmer from Odisha has been approaching lenders for decades
“I was tired of being in constant state of owing someone or the other some amount of money and had given up hope of receiving any formal institutional support.”
What are the solutions being offered?
Providing loans to farmers is not a recipe for their success, or for that of the lending institution. The loans are economic resources for farmers that enable them to facilitate their small business. It is equally crucial for both the farmer and financial institution that the farmer succeeds and profits from their activity. This can empower the entire agri value chain and facilitate the flow of credit. To enable this empowerment, all stakeholders in the agri value chain require an integrated platform that informs and creates linkages generating productivity for all.
With a vision to address these problems faced by FPOs and farmers, Dvara E-Registry (DER) has created the Doordrishti Platform that addresses these challenges by providing tightly integrated farm services and financial solutions. Doordrishti reaches out to the farmers via FPOs providing innovative solutions to their unique problems both at an organisational and individual level. DER helps the FPOs in digitising their business which is important in estimating the health of their crops (i.e. their business) and other relevant data that establishes better business linkages in a timely manner. To cater to FPOs, the Doordrishti FPO Saathi web application acts as an information backbone providing crop production and status estimates, farmer engagement and access, warehouse and credit linkages, price dissemination, a mechanism to enable aggregation of input demand and farmer outputs. Doordrishti helps the farmers succeed by engaging them through a mobile application where they receive customised crop advisory, information on their FPO’s procurement activities, weather updates and alerts, credit and warehouse linkages and price dissemination. To ensure no farmer is left behind, farmers who do not have access to smart phones receive information via SMSs. This platform has already been implemented with several FPOs and with Dvara’s recent empanelment as a Cluster Based Business Organization with Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), DER will help FPOs take off from day one of creation via Doordrishti.
Dvara E-Registry’s work in Odisha where Machine Learning and Remote Sensing was applied to help tenant farmers get agriloans was chosen as the winning case study at the Livelihood India Summit Awards – 2019. Most recently, in the 3rd FICCI Summit and Agri Start Up Awards, Dvara E-Registry has received the "Award for Best Agri Start-Up – FPO Partnership" for exemplary work in creating market linkages and empowering FPOs.
As of date, DER has a presence in eight states across the country and reaches 18,000 farmers through its FPOs.
Amit Naphde from Krushi Vikas Va Gramin Prashikshan Sanstha, Malkapur, Maharashtra shared his thoughts on Dvara’s work.
“The work we’ve done with Dvara has been a great experience. We are expecting that Doordrishti will open avenues to work with other market players. One of the most important thing Dvara is offering is aggregation of farmer's crop and land data which helps in yield estimation. We can leverage this information to find buyers. Dvara team is supporting us in establishing market linkages for FPOs and its member farmers. We require some agri-inputs as sowing season is approaching. The Dvara team is helping us connect with input suppliers. I am confident that our work with Dvara will materialize into strengthening backward and forward linkages for the FPO.”
Using alternative data generated from this platform and combining it with geo-spatial and weather analytics that are farm and farmer specific, Dvara E-Registry has the capacity to identify credit worthy farmers and provide them with loans and insurance, in conjunction with partner financial institutions and help grow their business. An important analytic tool developed by DER is KhetScore that considers the last three years of information specific to a land parcel to determine the quality of agriculture to assess business risk for credit decisions. To participating financial institutions, DER offers end-to-end farm loan management beginning from farmer acquisition and onboarding to credit underwriting, loan disbursement, monitoring & risk management and collection. Farm assessment is facilitated through the KhetScore and KhetScore Now apps that provide historical and real time data for accurate assessment. Farmer assessment is done through using data from FPOs, Credit Bureau and cash flow analysis. These details are crucial for financial institutions in credit underwriting, arriving at insurance premiums, and optimizing claim settlements. The end-to-end process ensures that financial institutions can engage with customers without physical presence and multiply their reach considerably. Dvara’s Field Representative is present throughout the process beginning from loan origination to collections, providing any support needed at every stage.
Partnerships with multiple stakeholders are necessary to facilitate the provision of this bouquet of financial and non-financial services to partners. Dvara E-Registry works with multiple stakeholders like Resource Institutions, Online Trading Platforms, Warehouse Service Providers, Research Institutions, Crop Buyers, input Companies, Credit and Insurance Providers and Government Bodies. Dvara E-Registry has signed an MoU with the Government of Odisha to fulfil the joint vision of leveraging science and technology for harnessing the potential of Odisha's agricultural sector. As Dvara E-Registry explores the best model and features of products that are customised for each farmer and land parcel, it provides a fertile ground for research institutions to collaborate and provide policy solutions. Dvara successfully participated and conducted experiments as part of the Government of India’s Gram Panchayat (GP) level Crop Yield Estimation Using Technology in partnership with International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI). DER is also a part of an important study by CGIAR to assess the impact of analytic solutions like KhetScore on improving access to financial services for small and marginal farmers.
Our analytics are providing damage and yield estimation across other stakeholders and geographies. Development agencies also support our lending program to farmers through guarantees, which helps further de-risk agricultural lending for financial institutions.
Dvara E Registry’s 360 degree approach helps in creating tremendous impact at the farmer and FPO level by providing an integrated “Success platform” for them and bringing together the best products and services for them including credit via partnering with diverse players in the value chain. The impact created is apparent from testimonials from the end beneficiary farmers and FPOs.
Ushaji is one of the Board of Directors of Sakshami Mahila Farmer Producer Company (FPC) in Shirur tehsil of Pune
She tells us that women in her area work in the farms all day, and contribute to weeding, harvesting, picking, watering, and going to the mandi. Despite working in farms, since women do not have any agricultural land to their name, they have difficulty in availing loans. Working with FPCs like Sakshami Mahila, Dvara E-Registry's Doordrishti provides a range of digital services to FPOs and farmers like Ushaji, including online input-order placing with FPC, agro-advisory, weather updates, and much more. Doordrishti has helped Ushaji's family get reasonable prices for agri-input items and access to timely crop advisory. Recently, the weather updates have proved helpful to plan activities for their onion crop. She is now hopeful that through Doordrishti and the FPC, farmers will secure better prices for their crops.
Santosh, a farmer says, “I had always planted my crops in an unsystematic order and kept plucking the weeds manually later, thinking that was the right way to go about cropping. But I learnt later that if I hadn't re-planted them systematically and if I had left them to their present unsystematic order, then the weeds would've taken all the nutrients from my crops, leading to sub-optimal crop health and would've also unnecessarily increased my spending on fertilisers. Thanks to Dvara E-Registry's timely advisory services, I was able to secure a great yield from my crops and was able to save up on precious time and money.”