Our agriculture and food systems are highly inefficient. One-third of all food farmers produce annually is wasted, at an expense of 1 trillion USD, according to many trusted sources including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. And it’s estimated that nearly 821 million people i.e. more than 1 in 9 people of the human population suffered from hunger in 2019, according to the World Food Programme. Apart from producing food, these systems also cause significant water shortages, climate change, deforestation, pollution, loss of soil, and loss of biodiversity. This urgently calls for a closer examination into the faults of our agricultural practices as well as inviting reformations and innovations to help make agriculture much more sustainable.
The agriculture and farming supply chain ecosystem consists of four fundamental parts: production, sorting, storage, and distribution. Most farmers worldwide today lack access to cold storage facilities, processing centres and efficient distribution, largely contributing to food with poor shelf life and food wastage, encouraging underbidding by middlemen across the supply chain. Because of these critical challenges, farmers are struggling to grow healthy food sustainably and profitably, especially in developing economies.
This endeavour to greatly improve today’s agriculture and farming systems is the professional and personal passion for Mr. Venkatesh Babu Vadlamudi, one of America’s most inspiring Indian entrepreneurs today. He’s the founder and CEO of dFarm Inc., a powerful hi-tech platform dedicated to address the agricultural industry’s critical challenges such as farmers’ financial wellbeing, reforming supply chain management, food safety, promoting best agricultural practices, and many more. He was born and raised by an agricultural family in Andhra Pradesh, India, and he is closely acquainted with the severe problems that farmers face today. Thus far in his career, he has been a serial entrepreneur within information technology, biotechnology, and manufacturing, contributed immensely to Indian corporations and municipalities within solid waste management and has also developed software applications for the American healthcare sector.
Addressing Agriculture’s Critical Challenges through Emerging Technologies
In 2011, Mr. Vadlamudi spent time with farmers in India and he realized that their happiness reduced each year due to many struggles. These included poor viability of farming, shortage of water resources, poor marketing infrastructure, poor storage facilities, lack of market outreach, low income, minimum viable price support, and lack of forecasting. “These harsh realities influenced and taught me that we needed a much more sustainable farming model. Through innovation, I strived to connect all the services and partners in the agricultural ecosystem from farmers to retailers, through IT and emerging technologies,” he shares.
The overall information technology integration within the agriculture industry is less than 1%, far behind all other industries and this is raising challenges, especially in supply chain management, storage, transportation, accountability, cost-effectiveness, and food quality. Mr. Vadlamudi recognizes these agricultural supply chain management (Ag SCM) challenges as urgent, critical, and requiring immediate resolution. “There is a critical need for Ag SCM executives to better understand these challenges and impact on their business. Fortunately, there are exciting and enabling technologies that can address these issues and these include blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and Big Data analytics,” he says.
Mr. Vadlamudi created an integrated cooperative business model, designed to streamline agricultural supply chain management, supported by technology. “Today’s technologies offer solutions in a heuristic way through acceleration, innovation and invention; helping save around 1 trillion USD worth of food wastage and stop hunger globally,” he says.
A Modern, Meaningful, and Invaluable Support System for Agriculture
“Globally, the farmer’s average age is increasing every year because most farmers’ successors do not want to continue the profession because it sometimes doesn’t seem like a viable business,” shares Mr. Vadlamudi. There are additional challenges including fragmented post-harvest supply chain ecosystem, fresh products’ poor shelf-life, irregular harvest schedules, bad infrastructure, low connectivity to markets, and difficulty meeting compliance standards like good agricultural practices (GAP) and the Food Safety Modernization Act.
dFarm Inc. has created a hi-tech agricultural supply chain management service platform applying all enabling technologies to address these critical challenges. Its proprietary technology is the Agriculture Information Management System (AIMS TM) which supports its diverse services and has been made available to everyone through software-as-a-service. AIMS essentially solves the main cause of food wastage today i.e. a fragmented supply chain, by applying powerful technologies to connect all participants of the agricultural ecosystem together. It empowers farmers to stay in charge of their financial well-being, to access new markets, and to manage their own products from the start to the end. Because of their service supports that addressees farmers biggest challenges i.e. financial stability, agricultural compliance, and safe after-harvest activities, farmers can confidently focus on producing good quality and higher yield crops.
In sum, dFarm makes four valuable contributions to the industry. First, it revitalizes the after-harvest supply chain ecosystem, allowing everyone to learn products’ quality, quantity, compliance, and more, at any point in the journey from farm to marketplace. Second, it unites powerful technologies like AI, blockchain, internet of things, cloud, and Big Data analytics together to optimize routine activities and to make informed decisions—all at the convenience of their fingertips. Third, its blockchain technology helps build trust in the ecosystem, identifies problems as well as ensures that everyone receives money safely, securely, and punctually. Finally, it provides holistic business development support through consolidating routine activities, removing problematic elements in the value cycle, providing access to new markets, building wealth, and achieving compliance.
A Promise of Passion, Dedication, and Support to Farmers’ Growth
As the courageous leader behind dFarm Inc., Mr. Vadlamudi is actively helping the industry grow more meaningful, relevant, and positive. Apart from solving long-standing challenges within the agricultural ecosystem, the company is striving to ensure that sustainability, healthy food as well as profitability go hand in hand. It also actively helping the agricultural and supply chain ecosystem achieve synergy, as the entire industry changes for the better.
As a business leader, Mr. Vadlamudi is immensely motivated to help farming and agriculture at large grow stronger, more efficient, and more sustainable. As an individual, he firmly believes in ethical values, a shared vision, passion, integrity, respect, compassion, and building trust. Looking to the future, he wants to exhibit courage, commitment, innovation, as well as clarity and decisiveness in his professional responsibilities. “To me, success is realizing economic viability for farmers, improving their operational efficiencies, supporting their overall sales and also revolutionizing agriculture with the help of technology and thus bringing good quality and fresher produce to consumers,” he concludes, sharing his idea of success as an entrepreneur.