Each year, the National Incubation Center in Islamabad holds a startup challenge called Hacktivate. This year, the Hackathon’s topic was Agriculture. The competition was held at the end of November and went by the name of Hacktivate 3.0.
The goal of Hacktivate 3.0 was to find practical and innovative solutions to the challenges faced by Pakistan’s agricultural sector. NIC’s website reads: “We want to expand the implementation of technology in Agriculture by fostering innovation and collaboration.” They also aim to connect key stakeholders to the relevant startups through their competitions.
This year’s Hacktivate was won by a startup going by the name of CropDrop.
CropDrop is an Islamabad-based startup aiming to digitally revolutionise the fresh produce supply chain in Pakistan. It is a business to business (B2B) platform which essentially sources quality produce directly from farmers and delivers to urban retailers, businesses, and service providers at affordable prices.
The startup has an online e-commerce web application; buyers and suppliers in the country can register through this portal with CropDrop. CropDrop then buys the produce from farmers in rural areas of the country and supplies them to the sellers within cities, towns, and villages.
CropDrop is the first of its kind within Pakistan. The business aims to enable increased benefits for farmers by buying directly from them and connecting them to numerous sellers from a single portal, thereby increasing their revenue.
Retailers also benefit from CropDrop because it cuts down on their transportation costs and delivers right to their doorstep. CropDrop also offers competitive pricing, high quality graded produce, and reduces their delivery and processing time.
Besides retailers and farmers, the consumers of products supplied by CropDrop are promised hygienically handled produce which can be traced directly back to its farm. CropDrop also helps consumers get better quality produce at a more affordable price.
Pakistan is a country which depends on its Agricultural sector to make up 18.9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 42.3 percent of the labour force within the country work under the agricultural sector. Moreover, Agriculture is also an important source of foreign exchange earnings for the country as it not only generates revenue itself but also stimulates growth in other economic sectors of the country.
Many farmers across the country fail to reach their business’s full potential because of time and transportation constraints. Similarly, retailers across big cities lose a lot of money in transportation costs because they usually have to buy different things from different areas. They also fail to get the highest quality produce because of logistical constraints.
Businesses like CropDrop, with the help of the NIC, aim to make the lives of the farmers, the retailers, and the consumers easier by digitally transforming their experiences and responsibilities. They also help Pakistan in moving towards being a more successful and efficient country.