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Technological innovation helping farmers thrive better

Sejuti Das | June 28, 2016
Venkat Maroju, CEO, SourceTrace Systems, says that producing food for a growing population, minimizing environmental impact and ensuring equitable treatment of farmers is a major challenge for our generation.

Till today, approximately 60 percent of Indians work as farmers, contributing nearly a fifth of the nation's GDP. Agriculture is undoubtedly the most important sector of Indian economy, but these men and women face significant challenges such as lack of infrastructure and information and financial barriers.

In this regard, SourceTrace addresses this challenge by bringing in the latest technology to the last mile of agriculture. From faraway fields to buying stations, following the links in an agricultural value chain can be a challenge of global proportions. The SourceTrace ESE Agri solution claims to track the flow of goods from the source to central processing facilities in the world's most remote areas.

Dr. Venkat Maroju, CEO of SourceTrace Systems, highlights how their cloud based mobility solution ESE Agri is helping improve the agriculture value chain by primarily focusing on Indian farmers while fulfilling the larger objective of sustainable development and farmers' empowerment.

Edited excerpts:

Kindly explain your solution, SourceTrace ESE Agri, and also tell us how it is making a change in our society.

SourceTrace has been a pioneer in developing software solutions for managing the first mile of agriculture value chain in developing economies.

The most important thing that we are currently working on is our core platform 'eServices Everywhere (ESE) Agri.' This is a mobile-based near-real-time transactional solution for sectors like agriculture, agribusiness companies, large MNCs, governmental agencies and allied sectors. The solution provides complete visibility of operation from field to market and tracks the value chain.

It aims to track the flow of goods from the source or the smallholder farms to the central processing facilities. The field staff and extension workers of companies use the mobile application to capture data and transactions at the touch points of smallholder farmers.

With our solution, farmers and organizations achieve global visibility of operations and supply chain, greater transparency, source traceability, real-time business intelligence, reduced operational costs, increased internal controls, and better resource management.

Presently, it has been deployed in 11 countries in three continents-Asia, Africa, Central and South America-and reaches more than 2 lakh farmers. Some of our customers include Cargill, Olam, LalTeer, Aarong, Tamil Nadu State Government, Mobipay, Basix and Palakkad Coconut Producers Company.

How is technology helping the agriculture industry?

Technology is an important factor in determining the future of agriculture. Like most industries, the agricultural sector has also changed greatly from the early seventies. There are a lot of innovations in the mobile and IT space that have the potential to make a huge impact on farming.

Currently, there are 450 million smallholder farmers in the entire world, who support 2 billion people in their households. Smallholder farmers, although responsible for 70 percent of the world's food production, are still poor and the majority of them are living near the margins of society. We at SourceTrace Systems consider them a vital part while addressing the issues of global food safety and security. 


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