Farmer Anil Kumar Singh lives in Bihar, India with his wife and two kids. Anil Kumar has about 1.5 acres of land, where he grows pointed gourd and eggplant. Anil Kumar was never certain whether a day at the wholesale market would pay off. Some days he was able to sell his produce; others, he wasn’t. Regardless, a day at the market meant a day away from his farm.
Since Loop was introduced in Bihar, Anil Kumar says he’s used the village aggregator to transport his produce to various markets, saving him valuable time. “He comes and collects the vegetables straight from the farm...When he returns from the market he first gives us the money and a receipt and I also get an SMS on my mobile phone. I don’t have to chase my payment. I trust Loop."
Anil Kumar now has more time to spend on his land, which has helped him improve his yield. “Now I grow more vegetables than before,” he says. The aggregator is also able to travel farther than Anil Kumar could. With aggregation comes economies of scale, meaning lower transport costs. And greater market connectivity means higher prices for farmers.
Farmers sell their produce and access markets through village-level aggregators. Often farmers themselves, these aggregators collect produce daily, identify the best market to sell the produce, oversee its transport to and sale at market, and disburse payment back to the farmers. Loop uses a comprehensive technology stack, including an Android app for transaction entry and accounting, SMS receipts, and near-real-time analytics dashboards.
We created the Loop Android application to facilitate the whole process of collection, sale, transport, and payments. It seamlessly toggles between online and offline modes for uninterrupted usage in rural settings. The app enables village-level aggregators and community to keep track of vegetables collected, amount and price of produce sold.
In the Loop dashboard we collect and analyze a variety of data:
One important thing we capture and monitor is the sustainability and efficiency of Loop itself. Can we create enough value and cost savings at each point in the Loop process to make it pay for itself? We’re working on figuring that out.
As Loop begins to scale on the ground, our focus is on streamlining market linkages to increase profit and reduce cost for farmers. We’re testing a lot of different ideas - creating an automated phone hotline to give farmers information on prices at different markets, building partnerships with transporters and traders and creating a recommendation system to identify the best markets for farmers to sell at. As with everything we do, we will test and learn what can be scaled.
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