THE Filipino folk song “Magtanim ay Di Biro” says it all about farming: it’s no laughing matter.
Farmers doing back-breaking work receive lowest pay or, at best, gain a miniscule from tilling the land. Moreover, a huge part of what people pay for the farmers’ harvests goes to the cost of marketing. Farmers also have to contend with the costs involving the purchase of new equipment, maintenance of existing ones and securing farm animals.
The number of middlemen involved and the farm-to-market costs paid the price of the products to a considerable degree, but actually leave very little for farmers. Indeed, for sheer inability to transport goods to the market themselves, many farmers are often forced to sell crops at a bargain price, barely enough to provide food on their own tables.
Such is the condition viewed by the people behind mobile application Krops.
Developed by Calata Corp., the app aims “to bridge the gap between the farmers and the market, and bring the farmers’ fare into the digital age”.
CEO Joseph Calata explained the app accords users an efficient, simple and affordable way to access products and buyers alike. In short, Krops is a digital marketplace where farmers can display their products for consumers to easily find what they’re looking for, whether it’s harvested crops or poultry, Calata explained. It enables the farmers to market their own products and fix their own prices, ensuring that what they will get for their hard work is a fair and reasonable price, he added.
The app uses a sophisticated search engine that not only identifies products similar to what you are looking for, but also directs you to suppliers nearest to your location, Calata explained.
“This is important, because a lot of the costs come from farm-to-market expenses,” Calata said. “The farmers’ lack of access to farm-to-market roads and even the unavailability of trucks and delivery vehicles all add up to operational costs, which are virtually reduced by using the app.”
CALATA said the firm’s app was patterned after Grab and Uber.
Krops will help potential buyers find sources of farm products within their locale, according to Calata.
The user-interface of the app makes it very easy to use, he claims. The registration process is pretty straightforward: one only needs to identify whether he intends to sell or buy before filling out a few basic information fields.
The sign-up process is neither difficult nor bothersome, and will certainly add to the number of users willing to try it out. It is also equipped with an instant messaging feature for quick communication and hassle-free transactions. The messaging feature is simple, clean and intuitive, which will make it easy for the farmers and their families to adjust to the new technology.
The products can be arranged in two ways: it can viewed using a map if a buyer is looking to resell products readily available within their area, or in a list view if the buyer is more particular about the products they wants to buy. There are also several payment methods available to the seller which will encourage more businessmen and individuals to do their shopping online, increasing the market base for the farmers.
Shipping options and verification methods are also available to complete the transaction and protect the interests of both the grower and the buyer, according to Calata. Krops also allows users to track down each order so they can confirm if the items they purchased are indeed on their way.
“Everything has been strategically mapped out in the app. The Philippine agricultural market has long been somewhat of a one-sided affair,” Calata said. “The farmers have often been at the losing end of every sale for their inability to dictate their price and secure reasonable returns for their hard work.”
Calata said the app “comes as a giant step towards removing the middleman, reducing the costs, and opening up new markets to every farmer.”
“It is literally bringing crops, profits, and even the future of Philippine farming right at our fingertips.”