Villgro Innovation Marketing
Sustainable agriculture IP company
Lead partner: Dave Richards
Most small farmers in rural India lack access to innovative agricultural and dairy inputs leading to lower and unsustainable livelihoods.
Poor reach of distribution channels in rural India and their inability to engage with customers makes selling innovative products and services unviable for producers as well as for the channel. As stated by the NCAER, only 40-45% of farmers have access to some kind of information about new agricultural technology and products. Access to products and services is even lower. Income of rural poor (farm and dairy sector) can be increased by 30%-50% and sustained over current levels if available new technology, product and services are made accessible to them. On the other hand, marketing cost of new products can be reduced significantly if adoption time is shortened to make these products and services more affordable (adoption time is 3-5 years on an average for agricultural/ dairy inputs.) At the same time, spurious products and incorrect information through unreliable channel make small and marginal farmers risk averse and slow adopters, trapping them in the vicious cycle of poverty.
Villgro Innovation Marketing (VIM) has created a unique, low-cost rural distribution model which reaches villages through local, knowledgeable sales agents called VLEs (Village Level Entrepreneurs.) The VLE model has created a viable business even in smaller villages. The process of participative product testing and evaluation by end users in actual field conditions makes adoption quick and cost effective. Focusing on rural households as a unit and building a product portfolio to meet the multiple needs of a family and enterprise has created a viable business proposition for small village-based entrepreneurs.
Within 5 years, VIM plans to reach to over a million rural households in 15,000 Indian villages improving their income by at least 20%-30%. VIM will also train and hire 3,000 village-based VLEs earning an additional 30%-50% increase in income.
Ashutosh Sinha, Co-Founder & CEO, is a result oriented management, marketing, rural & agriculture professional with 14 years of experience in the rural, agribusiness, energy and retail industry. Prior to VillFarm he was a Business Development Manager at British Petroleum Energy India. He earned his postgraduate diploma in Agribusiness Management from The National Institute of Agriculture in Hyderabad. Ashutosh was also a Prerna Fellow (awarded to leaders in social enterprise who inspire entrepreneurs to do meaningful work) in 2013 at the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.
About Villgro Innovation Marketing
VIM is creating the fastest and the deepest rural distribution channel for access and advisory for sustainable products in agriculture, dairy, water and energy to improve rural livelihood. VIM believes that empowering rural population to improve its return on investment by creating access to location specific innovations will create a sustainable growth ecosystem. VIM was founded in July 2009 after a 2 year model development and piloting by Villgro Innovation Foundation under project name Sammruddhi. VIM was founded by people involved in innovative rural business models and believe that it is possible to serve poor profitably. As of March 2012, VIMPL has served 6,000 customers with 70 innovative products in more than 300 villages and is able to operate at break-even on a unit level. VIM is based in Chennai, India.