Improving rural livelihoods

This is my first post in the community and I request some patience and plenty of suggestions/debate

Consider the problem of poverty in the Indian rural landscape.
Livestock uses less than 7% of the cultivable land
Livestock is reared by around 3% of the rural population and yet…it generates 30% of India’s agricultural GDP.

Livestock and livestock produce garners roughly 70% of the retail price for the farmer, whereas other crops/produce is around 20% or lesser. For example, a farmer will be paid Rs. 4.5 for an egg which retails at Rs.6 whereas paddy will fetch Rs. 20 even if the rice retails for Rs. 50 or more.
The poorest of the poor in the villages can still aspire for a self-employed income by keeping a few sheep/goats/poultry where they live, and they are pretty good at it too.
The bane of the rural folks is that they do everything in cash (no tax to pay anyway) and they are in a fix when they are in need of credit (who doesn’t need credit?)

We address these major issues:
Market linkage, price discovery, and an open marketplace with no borders
We seek to make a difference by bringing markets to the farmer (bagging orders from institutions and passing on to farmer collectives). This could be large dairy farms seeking to buy/sell cattle (had an interesting conversation with Shashi from Akshayakalpa on this) in quantities, poultry/sheep/goats/others to meat markets, high-quality stock for breeders etc. We do not want to be another middleman, and are keeping this free for now and we intend to charge a small amount per animal (less than what the farmer pays today in the animal fairs he goes to seeking buyers) once we get good numbers. We leverage reach by turning this into a B2B as far as possible by engaging with FPO/Cooperative Societies on the supply side of the value chain. Currently, we are working in the states of Karnataka and Uttarakhand.

Credit score
The app becomes a tool in assessing credit worthiness of farmers based on their livestock and their digital transactions through our platform, which can be used by financial institutions for providing loans to the farmers.

Convergence is paramount and hence we work with Animal husbandry and Veterinary services department, farmer collectives/FPO/Cooperative societies, and governments to use existing frameworks.

We are PashuKart. You can find us at website or download app

Attaching some links for reference

NSS REPORT NO. 587: Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land and Livestock Holdings of Households in Rural India, 2019

Karnataka district-wise livestock details

Registered Livestock Breeds

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Thanks for sharing!

Just Curious, Last year I come across an interesting Agritech startup - offering loans based on aerial/satellite digitization of farm field. In fact, recently that startup also received license from IRDAI to offer insurance based on the same above concept. I am curious, what are your thoughts about this method of creating Credit Score and offering an Insurance product? [Apologies, I am missing the name of that Startup, I shall share soon]

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Hi Suman

It probably is Satsure. They are doing great work. On your question itself:

Insurance of crops is very important (and to me, almost a societal obligation since we all have to eat). It is easy enough to establish activity on the field after a few weeks of sowing, and it is also possible to monitor the growth of the crop itself. Of course, there is a lot of work required on the ground to go through the grind of teaching the machine learning algorithm to predict the yield in terms of quality and quantity - monitor some test areas from sowing to harvest, establish the ground truth by harvesting and verifying yield, so on and so forth. A lot of hard work both on the field and with technology.

As to why leveraging technology is super important in this aspect, it will give underwriters great flexibility to instantly make a decision. You have 24x7 eyes to see what’s happening as well. Great and impactful work. This should make a positive difference in farmer’s lives

Personally, I prefer livestock itself to crops (not saying everyone should switch to crops, but think of it as spreading your risks).
Consider buying a heifer. Let’s say you pay Rs. 50000 on day 0. Now, you intend to keep it for 3 lactations and then probably sell it for about Rs. 50000 again on day 1000 (approximating calvings over the 3 years/3 lactations). You would like to sell the milk over these 1000 days. Even if you fall on bad times and you need to sell on any day between day 0 to day 1000, you never lose money - liquidity all the way. You can sell it and tide over your bad times. This is impossible with a crop on the ground. I would say every farmer should have a crop and have some livestock. It is a great way to maintain liquidity.


Is Sydney, your real name? than hi, :slight_smile:

Loved the analogy, however, what I have observed in my village and many of similar villages is that farmers prefer crops - because a. It is respectable, b. It is seasonal and hence demands fixed but limited time - over livestock because it demands daily taking care and is not very respectable in the community (I might be wrong). So, essentially we are talking about behaviour change, no?

Would be interesting to know the role of digitised land records within this and how better availability and reconciling of the same can play.

I think @Sydney’s previous reply was a good articulation. Still explaining this in brief: We have 50+ years to crop production data and our estimations have been quite spot on in the past. Hence validation of digitised land gives some sort of risk evaluation to landers. However, as @Sydney mentioned there are operational challenges. It is the almost same as getting a loan for your Mutual Fund, here the Mutual Fund is digitized agricultural lands.

@rishmunk To your question, I assume you mean land records regarding ownership as maintained by the government? As far as I know, this is not available via an API or similar. It would definitely be of help to combine the aspects of ownership/tenancy and the crop status.

It is perhaps important to bear in mind that the larger rural population (~85%) is either landless or holding insignificant amount of land . As the the survey referenced above, the details are:
Rural Households
Average area owned per household- 0.512 ha.
Percentage of landless* rural households: 8.2%
Household in marginal ownership (size: 0.002 ha. to 1.000 ha.) category: 76.5%
Households in large ownership (>10.000 ha.) category: 0.1%

The breakup between agricultural and non-agricultural households being
Agricultural households
Average area owned per household: 0.876 ha.
Percentage of landless households: 2.6%
Households in marginal ownership category: 70.4%
Households in large ownership category: 0.2%

Non-Agricultural Households
Average area owned per household: 0.086 ha.
Percentage of landless households :14.8%
Households in marginal ownership category: 83.7%
Households in large ownership category: 0.0%

Yes, Suman. That’s my name and it wouldn’t have been my first choice :slight_smile:

I agree. Unfortunately, livestock rearing and the choice of livestock itself is a matter of caste/religion among other factors. However, the power of economic empowerment cannot be underestimated and I remain hopeful that things will change - for the better!

Currently, the income from crops is double of that from livestock rearing. With a bit of a nudge, they can earn the same amount of income from livestock rearing and this is what we are aiming for.

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@NithinKamath @sameershisodia

A very pertinent article on the climate crisis

which draws upon the research

While we read about reforestation, plantation drives etc., it would be more relevant and frutiful to take the stakeholders (livestock owners) into consideration and encourage silvopasture and weave it into the community practices.

Would be happy to partner with people/entities interested in such practical measures, which are closer to ground reality.

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