Published: 21st July 2018
NaPanta is an app that helps farmers when they are at crossroads about crop issues
Naveen Kumar is helping farmers from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with their queries
When we have a doubt or a query, we turn to Google — no matter what or how silly the question is. But what do you reckon a farmer should do when they have doubts about their crops, fertilisers or anything else? Should they turn to a fellow farmer who might have doubts of his own or to the World Wide Web where the plethora of information might end up confusing him? Understanding the conundrum, Naveen Kumar V decided to launch an app called NaPanta last year in June and today, it has impacted over 80,000 farmers across the Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Think of NaPanta (which means 'my crop' in Telugu) as the Telugu Google for farmers, which has answers to all kinds of farming queries including daily market prices of 3,500 markets, dealers in a specific location, weather forecast, crop insurance, cold storage and more.
We want to eventually build an empire so that every farmer has access to NaPanta
Naveen Kumar V, Founder, and CEO, NaPanta
The first thing anyone who downloads the NaPanta app, which is available on Android, notices is that information is neatly segregated into several categories which makes it easy for a farmer to navigate. When we got in touch with Founder and CEO Naveen Kumar, we understood that it wasn't an easy task to compile, translate and segregate all the information. But what proved to be a greater task was understanding what the farmer wants. "Three months alone were spent in talking to all the stakeholders of the ecosystem of agriculture — farmers, agents, and middlemen," explains Kumar, who hails from Warangal. The conclusion he drew from all his research was that "at the end of the day, it was the farmer who was being cheated from all sides, whether it's about getting the right information or getting the right price for his produce," explains the 33-year-old. To add fuel to the fire, the I-can-help-myself attitude of farmers wasn't helping either. Initially, nobody came forward to support the initiative, not even the farmers themselves. But Kumar and his team of four weren’t going to give up.
NaPanta is also supported by Bala Vikasa International Center (BVIC) to provide sustainable farming practices to their 6,000 adopted villages
Kumar had his moment in the Sun when one of his presentations addressed the pain points that the Berkeley-Andhra Smart Village research had thrown up last year. Today, with the help of this project alone, NaPanta is providing its services in 400 villages across Andhra Pradesh. And since then, it has only been sunshine for Kumar. "We hope the future will be just as bright," he says.
New glimpse: A screenshot from the app
Currently, the app is being accessed by 20,000 farmers per day. NaPanta is also working with the district collector of the East Godavari district and all this is free of cost for the farmers. The only advice he has for upcoming agritechs is, "Whatever your business structure is, strive to make it more transparent."
For more on them, click on napanta.com