Mandi app on a smartphone
Bengaluru: “Working for an MNC is like slavery,” says Edvin Varghese who quit a highly-paid job and started his own technology company in 2011.
After working for one of the world’s largest technology companies for seven years, Edvin and his wife Seena started Appface Technologies, which develops mobile and cloud-enabled solutions for iOS, Android and Mac users.
“Since the time we started Appface, we also wanted to do something for society, for poor people,” said Edwin. In March 2012, the couple decided to go back to their family’s farming roots to find a mission for which they could use their technical skills. They created a ‘virtual mandi’ for farmers, the Mandi Trades app.
“The biggest problem for farmers is marketing. They are not able to sell their produce at the best prices. There is no accurate data available with even the government on what a farmer is growing in his fields as it changes often with the seasons. Farmers depend mostly on agents and middlemen, and they are left with little choice. They are not aware of other bulk buyers, such as hotels, caterers, exporters, food processors, retail supermarkets, etc. That’s where the app acts as a platform to provide a direct connect between the farmer and the wholesale buyer.”
Using the app, farmers are able to share information such as the date of produce and availability location, the price they expect, contact numbers, etc.
Traders, too, can use the app to find new customers for the farm produce they are dealing in.
“When a farmer registers with Mandi Trades app, we capture all his produce details and location of produce. Buyers get a list of the commodities available, sorted by geography, distance, price and availability. The app has the potential to reduce farm produce wastage,” he says.
“Currently, about 40 per cent of all farm produce in the country is wasted in long distance transportation and multiple layers of middlemen,” Edvin says.
Mandi Trades currently has over 1,600 users, mostly traders. Edvin is now working to launch a ‘farmer’s phone’ in partnership with phone manufacturers.
The Mandi Trades app, too, will be updated to support Indian languages.
The app is available on Android, Windows and iOS phones and tablets.