Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and Reliance Jio Platforms are banking on the new partnership with Facebook to expand into the agritech domain with the JioKrishi app. The JioKrishi app will offer farm-to-fork supply chain support as well as data analytics.
Reliance recently launched the JioKrishi app to help farmers undertake precision farming aided by farmland data. The app, which is currently in beta mode, will use data analytics to alert the farmers about the right time to sow, irrigate, and fertilise the crops. The company believes that this will increase their productivity and yield.
Reliance Takes Big Strides In Agri Supply Chain
According to a Business Standard report, Reliance’s farm-to-fork business will focus on ensuring a 12-hour delivery cycle from harvest to the store by sourcing nearly 50% of all vegetables required in retail. This will benefit its existing groceries businesses Reliance Fresh and JioMart, along with other stores. The company is said to have sourced 77% of its fruits directly from the farmers.
Though Reliance hasn’t been in the agritech segment for long, its rivals are only producing 10% of its volume, said the report. As per Bank of America (BofA) research, Reliance has partnered with grocery delivery and hyperlocal platforms such as Swiggy, Flipkart and Dunzo.
Other startups in the agri supply chain are Ninjacart, Intello Labs, Farmpal, Zomato’s Hyperpure, Bigbasket, Jumbotail, WayCool, DeHaat, KrishiHub and Kisan Network among others. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted a lot of inefficiencies in the system due to the disruption of the entire value chain.
The lack of information or real-time data across the entire ecosystem has led to food wastage, poor quality of products and unclear pricing — which came to a head during the pandemic.
According to Researchgate, around 30%-40% of total production gets wasted at various levels of the supply chain. This amounts to INR 2 Lakh Cr loss each year.
Reliance has also partnered with Escorts, Microsoft and Bosch to develop a small autonomous tractor to develop precision farming. The model has already been developed and can be used for seeding, tilling and spraying. It is said to have been deployed for over 65K hectares of land and with over 38.5K farmers trained in agri-allied skills.
WhatsApp Comes Into Play In Reliance’s Agritech Plan
JioKrishi would also send alerts to farmers updating them on the weather, seasonal pests, crop loss trends, or rare attacks such as those from locusts. Besides this, the company will also be leveraging its partnership with Facebook to incorporate the JioKrishi app in WhatsApp. This would allow Reliance Industries to send personalised information or alerts to the farmers.
JioKrishi could also be integrated with JioMart, where Reliance would make the deliveries directly to consumers.
For Facebook, the obvious upside besides an uptick in business use-cases for WhatsApp is the potential WhatsApp Payments growth. With farmers coming on board, WhatsApp Payments could gain early momentum, if indeed it is integrated within JioKrishi. The platform, which has been struggling to launch in India since 2018, has finally claimed to be compliant of all RBI regulations and is awaiting approval.