Success Story: Closing the information gap for smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh

Kinubudi Parmeshwar Rao works as a vegetable farmer in Demuduvalasa village in Andhra Pradesh, India. Kinubudi supports the four members of his family by growing red cabbage on his small farm and selling his produce at local markets. Like so many smallholder farmers in this region, Kinubudi often struggles to sell his produce for a fair price.

Before joining the Geethanjali Farmer Producer Group, organized by Tanager’s Andhra Pradesh Farmer Market Readiness Project in India, Kinubudi was unaware of the current market prices for his vegetables, nor was he aware of the quality standards that the buyers were looking for. This information-gap made him vulnerable to middlemen, who take advantage of farmers’ lack of information and options – paying less than the vegetables are worth in the open market.

What Kinubudi and thousands of famers needed was easily accessible market information. This is where the Mastercard Farmer Network (MFN) e-Rythu app came into the picture. E-Rythu is “a mobile platform that digitizes agriculture marketplaces, payments, workflows, and provides farmers an easy and secure way to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural products via their mobile phones.” (“Government Of Andhra Pradesh and Mastercard Introduce e-Rythu, A Digital Marketplace, To Create A Cashless Agricultural Ecosystem”, Mastercard Newsroom Press Release).

Tanager, through the Walmart Foundation-funded Andhra Pradesh Farmer Market Readiness Project, introduced Kinubudi and his Farmer Producer Group to MFN and provided training on how to use the app to connect to buyers. The MFN app is simple to use. With a few clicks, sellers upload what they have to offer allowing the buyers to then bid on the produce. Farmers select the buyer offering the best price. The Farmers Producer Group then collects the produce in bulk and delivers it to the buyer, saving the farmer even more time.

When farmers use the app to connect to buyers, the marketplace naturally becomes more competitive and transparent. In Kinubudi’s case, by eliminating the middlemen, he was able to sell 290kg of red cabbage to Narayana Food at Rs 20/dg – double the amount he received at the local markets.

Kinubudi tell us: “We used to sell our produce at a very low price. Using MFN has helped us in not only getting prices but also has also saved our time in finding buyers offering better prices.”

“Connecting smallholder farmers to the resources they need to improve their economic outcomes is a key part of Tanager’s mission in India. Through the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Market Readiness Project. supported by the Walmart Foundation through its commitment to advance FPO-led farmer market access approaches in India, we were able to increase farmer adoption of the Mastercard Farmer Network, which in turn is helping these farmers earn more money for the vegetables they grow. We are very proud of what farmers have been able to accomplish thanks to this partnership.” – Amit Singh, India Country Representative, Tanager