From Tea Stall to Farming Frontiers: The Journey of Gramik’s Founder

Born to a marginal/landless farmer who ran a tea shop and worked as a daily wage farm labourer, Gramik’s founder- Raj Yadav grew up witnessing the challenges of the agricultural sector firsthand. His father’s dual roles, were necessary to supplement their family’s income. As a farmer’s son, experiencing agricultural challenges like pesticide overuse and low crop prices firsthand, the founder of Gramik was motivated to create change.

When his father ordered farming equipment online during the COVID-19 lockdown, it sparked the idea of an online platform to cater to farming needs. This inspired the birth of Gramik, with a mission to digitally empower Indian farmers. Seeing his father, despite lacking formal education, adapt to online purchasing, the founder recognized the potential for other farmers to embrace digital solutions. This realization fueled the concept of Gramik as a tool to uplift farming communities.

Gramik (GRAM+IK), where “Gram” signifies village, and “IK” stands for indigenous knowledge, which refers to local information built upon and passed down from one generation to another through continuous practices and socialization processes.

Gramik’s main objective is to promote traditional techniques, as our ancestors used to practice agriculture, following natural farming practices, such as composting, crop rotation, and irrigation in natural ways. Gramik advocates for these practices, which we call ‘Good Agricultural Practices.’ Since the green revolution, the use of pesticides and fertilizers has increased rapidly in India, leading to a 20-30% loss in land fertility over the past 14 years. This is why Gramik has a single mission: to promote ‘Good Agricultural Practices.’ If you look closely at Gramik’s logo, you’ll see a thumb, which symbolizes literacy in Good Agricultural Practices, and four waves representing land, water, soils, and the environment.

Gramik offers guidance on growing crops that provide better income to the farmers. Post harvest, they also ensure that the farmers get good price for their produce. Gramik also provides advisory on cultivating uncommon crops for higher profits. Gramik sources seeds, fertilisers and farming tools directly from manufacturers and further sells them to farmers at very affordable prices. Bulk buying along with their profit addition they are able to sell the Agri-inputs to the farmers. It’s a win-win for both the company and the farmers. In just over 2.5 years, Gramik has supported about 3.5 lakh farmers in India. Rooting from the villages and serving the farmers, that’s how ‘Gramik’ was named.

Gramik is revolutionizing the rural farming community to increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability, and improve the livelihoods of farmers, the services provided are as follows:

  • Access to Information and Quality Input: Gramik provides farmers with crucial information for optimal crop production, including weather patterns, soil health, crop diseases, and the most suitable agricultural practices. This information helps farmers make informed decisions and enhance their yields. Gramik provides doorstep delivery of quality inputs like seeds, pesticides, bio fertilizer, cattle feed etc., to farmers.
  • Improved Productivity: Gramik provides farmers with access to innovative technologies such as precision farming, automated irrigation, and crop monitoring tools to aid them in increasing their productivity and efficiency.
  • Output sale & market linkages: Gramik connects farmers directly to FPO’s & buyers through digital platforms, allowing them to bypass intermediaries and get better prices for their produce.
  • Financial Support: Gramik is also helping farmers gain access to digital finance platforms, enabling them to purchase inputs, invest in new technologies, and expand their farms.
  • Training and Capacity Building: Gramik provides training and capacity-building programs to farmers, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to optimize their farming practices.
gramik founder raj yadav

The biggest challenges in the journey included low agricultural productivity due to land degradation and traditional farming practices. Small and marginal farmers faced risk aversion, hindering the shift to more sustainable methods. Conventional farming methods yielded low crop outputs, necessitating training investments. Overcoming these challenges involved building trust, providing technology adoption support, and implementing soil testing and crop advisory services. Additionally, addressing scattered crops and supply chain inefficiencies required the deployment of digital farm guides for effective coordination.

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Gramik aims to promote sustainable agriculture through innovative technologies like blockchain and data science, supporting precision farming, regenerative agriculture, and vertical farming. By driving the adoption of digital technologies such as IoT, AI, blockchain, and big data analytics, Gramik enables farmers to make informed decisions, optimizing operations for increased productivity and profitability. So far, Gramik has onboarded approximately 350,000 farmers and collaborates with over 4,000 agribusinesses.

gramik milestone
gramik milestone
  • Overcoming Farmer Resistance: Gramik faced initial resistance from farmers unwilling to adopt technology and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Motivating farmers in villages was challenging, but yielded three to four times increases eventually persuaded more farmers to join.
  • Rural Employment Generation: Gramik has created rural employment, currently engaging with 600+ peer partners who earn incentives through various farmer support initiatives. They plan to onboard 3,500 peer partners in the next 2 years, with 65% being women farmers.
  • Recognition at ET Business Awards 2023: Raj Yadav, Founder & CEO of Gramik, was honored at the ET Business Awards 2023.
  • Growth Trajectory: Gramik witnessed a 50x increase within 2.5 years of inception, indicating a promising growth trajectory.
  • Great Place to Work Recognition: Gramik has been recognized as a Great Place to Work in 2024, solidifying its reputation as an excellent workplace.

To read the full interview article of Gramik’s Founder, Download our April issue of Times of Agriculture magazine.

Times of Agriculture
Times of Agriculture

Times of Agriculture is a monthly agriculture magazine initiated for purpose of providing information on agri. innovations, agribusiness, gardening, and engaging content related to agriculture, aimed to promoting awareness about Agritech and Agripreneurship. Expertise of publishing 2000+ articles on various agricultural topics, We try to offer our readers insightful and informative content. Happy reading.....

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