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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Dr Naima Shaikh, Founder & MD at AgriDigi Tech (OPC) Private Limited


Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Dr Naima Shaikh: The entrepreneurial journey can be challenging, but for me it has been a

rewarding experience full of passion, dedication and hard work. As an Agribusiness

Management postgraduate, I started my career in the year 2017 as a Project Manager in an

agricultural company, where I learned the nuances of the agri-input sector, crop management and extension education. I was also exposed to the challenges faced by farmers with regard to agricultural marketing, prices, access to credit and information and incorrect diagnosis. This led to several discussions with my then managing director and we decided to offer new initiatives to farmers in the form of a digital agriculture portal, eKrishikendra. The portal works for every stakeholder of agriculture including farmers, agriculture input industry, agriculture market sector, agriculture experts and agriculture students. My co-founder with the requisite technology background has been instrumental in developing the technology solutions at eKrishiKendra.



Great Companies: What are the various services provided by AgriDigi Tech (OPC) Private Limited?

Dr Naima Shaikh: AgriDigi Tech (OPC) Private Limited has developed a digital agriculture

portal and app called eKrishiKendra. ekrishikendra is one such Agritech startup investing in Digital Agriculture innovation to secure Food, Yields, and Livelihoods. It is a web-based farming management platform and India’s largest digital agriculture portal which connect Farmers, Agri Input Industries, Agri Bazaar sector, Agri Experts and Agri students at one platform under single roof. It operates through web browser, mobile app and browser. It's working in all AgriTech sub-segments such as Market Linkage, DaaS (Digital Agriculture-as-a-Service), Farm Inputs, Precision Agriculture, Agri – EdTech. Crop management advice and services for farmers, purchase of agricultural inputs, sale of agricultural products, futures trading, training, video library and online meeting facilities. There are amenities like B2B, Ecommerce, Dealer Network, Marketing and Employee Management System for Agriculture Input Industries. Various modules are available for agriculture market sector like e-mandi, direct purchase from farmers, online trading, bidding and retailing. There is facility of e-classroom, e-library, e-learning, video library, job placement and workplace for agriculture students. For agricultural experts Live farmer meeting, video library, agriculture advice/solution and student room facilities. The social-network includes discussion forums, social media, blog services and regular updates of agricultural schemes, news and exhibitions.




Great Companies: What makes AgriDigi Tech (OPC) Private Limited different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Dr Naima Shaikh:  Innovative Solutions

We provide solution to agriculture sector (Farmers, Agri Input industry, Agri Bazaar Sector, Agri Expert,

Agri Students) through following services:

eKrishikendra provides solutions through both online and offline

: Online Phase :

* ICT, IoT


* Virtual Agriculture Linkage

Farmer, Agri Input industries, Agri Bazaar, Agri Expert, Agri Student/Professional Network


* Farm TimeLine

Complete auto-management of individual farmer's crops based on all crops grown in the district


*Buy /Sell platform

Agri inpus at farmer's doorsteps

Direct marketing of agricultural produce


* Future Trading

Services for Farmers and agri bazaar sector such as

Price discovery

standardization

Hedging


* e-Mandi

Online trading, bidding and retailing of agricultural products.


* Agri Business e-Podium

B2B Market place

B2C/C2B/C2C platform

Dealer Network

Marketing kit for Agri input industries


* Amenity for Agri students

Virtual network

e-library,

e-learning,

job placement


* Agri Expert Gateway

Live farmer meeting

Live Dec and video library

Student room


* Social- commerce

Timeline, Pageline, Discussion forum


* Omni channel

Customer-Website, Mobile App, Store, Call center, Catalog- Product, price, promo, fulfillment, supplier,

inventory, distribution centers, stores, vendors.


* Regular updating of agriculture schemes, news & exhibitions


: Offline phase :

*EKrishi Kendra centers

Agri Input Selling

Farm Produces procurement (SCM)

Agriculture Services 


  • Competitive Advantages


We stand apart from our competitors by providing a unique service which is a first in the

agriculture sector. 


  • Working in Market Linkage, DaaS (Digital Agriculture Advisory Service), Farm Inputs, Precision Agriculture, Agri –EdTech segments. 

  • Operating through mobile App, Mobile browser and web browser. 

  • Weather based complete management of crops based on all the crops grown in the

districts. Farmers can create profiles of crops grown in their field and receive alerts and

notifications through SMS and voice massage for the same. 

  • Gives alerts about weather situation and notified for crop production practices such as sowing time, fertilizer application, possible pests and diseases attack, pesticides spray requirement, irrigation situation, intercultural operations and harvesting time as per weather situation.

  • Every stakeholder of Agriculture sector at one place 

  • An unified network for farmers, Agri-input, Agri Experts, Agri Students and Agri Bazaar under single roof. 

  • Suggesting agri inputs to farmers by technical names.

  • Illiterate farmers can upload their problems through image, Audio, Video and get

solutions.



Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcomethem?

Dr Naima Shaikh:

Challenges:

The entrepreneurial journey is challenging. However, Work-life balance is extremely difficult for entrepreneurs, especially in the beginning. You may be risking your reputation with innovative products or services that no one has used before. Taking financial risks to invest in your business idea is one of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur. Sometimes friends and family simply don't understand the entrepreneur in their midst. They often can't relate and don't understand what it is that you do or what drives you. Rejection is part and parcel of the entrepreneurial journey and it can happen at any point and is a constant threat. Entrepreneurs face dozens of decisions every day, some are minor, but many are tough, business-impacting decisions that are really difficult to make.


As a women innovator and entrepreneur some of the commonly faced challenges include the difficulties of obtaining funds, lack of guidance and resources to grow, complex regulatory environment to operate, feeling respected as business owners, and building a support system. Also face challenges such as Defying social expectations, struggling to be taken seriously, owning accomplishments, Balancing business and family life, coping with fear of failure.


Broke down Barriers :

I created my own support systems, overcome my insecurities, and reached out to other women entrepreneurs. I looked to other women who have succeeded in the workplace and I looked to change my mindset. I took the plunge and venture out, i didn't be afraid of failure. I was not afraid of failure. However, growing any business takes time and energy. There were a few important aspects I considered when I started my business. First I did market research, then analyzed my competitors, understood the risks and benefits. I remained focused on achieving my short-term goals. I was flexible and had good planning and organizational skills. I made sure not only that the business is ready for launch, but i am as well. I attended networking events.



Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for AgriDigi Tech (OPC) Private Limited?

Dr Naima Shaikh: To increase the adoption as well as the benefits offered by digital

agriculture, both vertically we are digitize our process and horizontally as more farmers and agri players adopt digital agriculture, there will be more value for all. To use the momentum and shape this development in such a way that all stakeholders of agriculture can participate equally in the digital transformation. Achieve this goal primarily through increased collaboration between all stakeholders. This includes farmers, APMCs, FPOs, governmental institutions, the private sector, academia and, above all, smallholders and their organizations themselves.


In next 5 years the initiative is transforming the agricultural landscape by efficiency,

productivity, sustainability, traceability. This is becoming a digital stack for agriculture that

allows effective use of technologies and services to every stakeholder of agriculture sector.

Smart farming will be adapted for implementation in the local conditions of Indian agriculture. Digital agriculture will become easier for farmers in rural India. Balancing the twin demand of ensuring food security (through higher productivity) and higher income for farmers (by cost reduction, qualitative market access).It will deliver a more productive and sustainable form of agricultural production which is also beneficial for the environment.



Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Dr Naima Shaikh: To budding entrepreneurs, I’d say, take the plunge and venture out, don’t be afraid of failure. Although growing any business will take time and energy.

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