Transforming existing markets themselves, into smart markets
Though at a nascent stage, solutions here are completely practical, feel embedded engineers.
“Having IoT-devices at marketplaces is not an uncommon technology, it has seen the light of the day in several western economies,” was the general sentiment echoed by multiple embedded systems engineers working at IoT-startups in Bengaluru.
However, there are hitches here. Geographical reachability and connectivity is still in its infancy in Indian economies. Marketplaces and fair-price shops are generally located at an average distance of 50-100 kilometres from the farms where produce is harvested. Farmers, from whom travel is difficult, still choose middlemen to sell produce.
Nonetheless, there is still light at the end of the tunnel as innovative startups such as Pune-based Ecozen who have developed an IoT-driven solar-powered cold storage units that is accessible even to small and marginal farmers.
In the same way, Tamil Nadu-based Nimble Wireless also offers IoT-driven solutions for cold-chains for both the food as well as pharma sectors.
Therefore, it is not an exaggeration when experts express large-scale optimism about IoT-driven physical solutions for agricultural asset monitoring.
“By putting IoT machines where a person can push a button to send an alert to his farm for a refill, middlemen can definitely be eliminated. The onus is now on the IoT service providers and embedded engineers to design and deploy such smart market devices,” adds Swetha.
For farmers, there are direct open source tools to eliminate middlemen now
At this point in time, it is worth noting that there are open source platforms that directly connect farmers with traders. So, if you are an engineer intending to start farming on your ancestral land or simply a farmer, check out the below open source platforms:
- e-NAM : An online portal, developed by the Government of India, for trading in agriculture produce, which promises to liberate farmers from the clutches of middle-men and realise fair market value for their yields.
- ConnectFarmer: ConnectFarmer offers a common platform for processed farm products and enable these to be sold directly to end users.
- MKisan: Yet another buyer-seller platform created by the government of India, MKisan enables farmers connect directly with buyers. Buyers register on this platform and choose the area from where they intend to buy the product. They can offer the desired price at which products need to be procured. Farmers of that selected location get a text message on their mobile set. This message contains name and mobile number of all buyers and the price which they are offering to buy a commodity.