In 2009, the world was hit by a financial crisis unlike any seen before. As the economic meltdown hit its peak, Krishna Kumar started a small company out of Bangalore with the intent of finally bring technological advancement to India’s ailing agriculture sector. At a time when banks were struggling to survive, he convinced them to loan substantial amounts to farmers that desperately needed it.
CropIn launched in 2010, and is focussed on building a tech and machine learning B2B platform for farmers, bankers, insurance companies and manufacturers. If that sounds like too many buzzwords, it’s a simple prospect in reality. CropIn works with all of the above companies to do one simple thing – make farmers lives easier.
As Krishna says, farmers – especially in India – have very difficult lives. They only make money in 3-4 month cycles, they have to leave their land untended for weeks at a time, they have limited knowledge of prices at the market place, and no one will loan them money to make ends meet during lean periods. And these problems only cover their professional expenses. No wonder the government is stuck providing ridiculously large loans, and the loan waivers, to farmers on a regular basis.
In this cycle, there are two types of farmers – those that produce and sell at the market individually, and those that have tie ups with corporations. CropIn focusses on the latter through a straight forward, if difficult, method. They replace exploitative middle men by using technology to bring information to farmers, banks, the corporations, and insurance firms.
They map out farms and villages across 20 countries to let everyone know what land is best for what crops, which farms need extra help, what agricultural methods work in which region, and which farmers are eligible for a loan for everything from seeds to equipment and land. Today, they are even working with the government in Bihar to help local farmers work through issues causes by climate change.
You can listen to a podcast of this interview here.