What I have experienced about the Bangladeshi Agro-tech eco-system in the last 2 years
Bangladeshi agro tech ecosystem are developed through several startup in bangladesh.
1. The biggest pain point of the Bangladeshi farmers is “SALES”. Also, there are problems regarding (access to finance | quality inputs | production | lack of knowledge).
2. Selling something to the farmers is very very tough (and highly credit-driven) in Bangladesh. And selling tech-enabled products with an up-front cost. is near to impossible.
3. Playing in the input end is very difficult because the traditional input business runs on a massive credit line. The easiest ways of capturing the market are either disbursing liquid cash to them or selling inputs in credit. But both of them require huge investment back up.
4. The last way possible is purchasing directly from farmers and selling it to the consumer market. But the Bangladeshi market is not like India where you can find easy access to super-shops (because they are very limited in numbers). So, you must have to create an e-commerce for selling. And as much as you can sell, the number of partnered farms/farmers will increase.
5. But again, selling groceries online will make you another generic e-commerce, and chances of getting VC funds will get limited. And why people will buy from you instead of Chaldal? There should be some value propositions that matter while purchasing.
6. The biggest pain-point for the end consumers is the “Quality” and the only solution to that is the supply chain traceability. And while making the supply chain traceable, you can not make your selling price “Gulshan-Banani
” standard. Then you will be limited in a niche market and limited sales mean a limited chance of onboarding lots of farmers. And if you cannot onboard a lot of farmers, you cannot play big in the input end as well.
7. While creating the traceable supply chain, manual intervention is a must. But scaling up manually operated things is nearly impossible. So, we need tech to do that. But digital literacy is very nominal among Bangladeshi farmers. So, you need to implement some technologies covering your offline farmers and online end consumers. And while doing that, you need to plan for technologies that are realistically scalable.
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