Former Microsoft employee builds India’s first super app for farmers.

A techie and former Microsoft employee have developed an agriculture-focused super app, HFN (Harvesting Farmers Network) Kisan app. Unlike many agri-tech platforms that focused on digitizing the agricultural economy, Garg took a step backward.

Ruchit Garg has worked for at least 11 years in the United States at the tech giant Microsoft. But, his desi roots took him back to Chandigarh, India, where he started developing a seed-to-market start-up, Harvesting Farming Network (HFN), two years before.

He traveled across the country from Meghalaya to Kashmir and brought together a network of 24 lakh growers. He started connecting farmers with the buyers directly using WhatsApp to remove the inefficacies present in the Indian agriculture industry and help the farmers increase their income. Within a year, more than 300 million USD worth of crops were listed.

Garg’s grandfather was a farmer, and it caused him to help address the challenges farmers face, by the application of technology, build a network of the growers, help them produce non-toxic, efficient production with expert advice, sell the crops at a reasonable price and connect them directly with buyers.

Over the two years, he built an agriculture-focused super app, HFN (Harvesting Farmers Network) Kisan app, where crops worth 24 million USD are already listed for purchases.

In addition, this former Microsoft employee is partnering with one of the biggest commercial banks in India to support financing the farmers, avail credit facilities, and give agricultural expertise to remove the inefficacies in the process.

“The use of smartphones, availability of cheap data beyond Tier 1 towns and metros is a vital lever that will push the agricultural industry forward in the next two decades,” said Garg.

The HFN Kisan app does not take any commissions from farmers for sales. Through the initiative, he has plans to set up 17,000 physical Kisan centers across the country to reach out to growers who aren’t tech-savvy. These centers will be farmer-owned and operated, with training and marketing expertise in states like J&K, Karnataka, Orissa, Punjab, Meghalaya, etc.

Moreover, he sees an enormous opportunity in the financial services offerings for farmers by helping agriculturists connect with lenders through the HFN app’s in-built features, which also serves this under-penetrated market and removes the concerns of credit returns.