Best Emerging Technology Solution Highly Commended: FMC India Pvt Ltd

Published: Jan 2024
Photo of Oliver Li, FMC India Pvt Ltd.

Photo of Oliver Li, FMC India Pvt Ltd.

Oliver Li

Treasury Manager, Asia Pacific

FMC India is a global agricultural sciences company that helps farmers grow more food sustainably through its portfolio of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, including biological technologies.

Farmers in India can now access app to pay for drone services

The challenge

FMC India recognised a significant portion of Indian farmers, comprising of over 80%, manually applied agri-chemicals, leading to wastage and soil damage. Due to the absence of a physical presence in rural areas, the company partnered with a drone startup, General Aeronautics. This collaboration facilitates the precise application of insecticides on rural farmlands, curbing wastage, preserving soil health and preventing groundwater contamination. Each spray drone can treat three to four acres in 15-20 minutes, expediting the spraying process and safeguarding farmers from risks like heat stroke. FMC aimed to offer this solution through its Farmer App, allowing its 200,000+ users to request drone spray services. Farmers provide crop and acreage details, preferred spray time and make online payments. Upon payment, FMC evaluates the requirements and schedules the service. To enhance app usability, the company sought an affordable, efficient payment solution with broad acceptance, minimal downtime and real-time status updates.

The solution

FMC India engaged Citi to establish a payment gateway integrated with its app. The initial discussion was to offer users multiple payment options. Citi India conducted an analysis of the rural payments’ infrastructure and found that 75% of transactions in this segment utilised unified payment interface (UPI) – a mobile-based instant payment system that facilitates inter-bank peer-to-peer (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions. Further, it was observed that most rural farmers were active smartphone users and technologically adept.

FMC India and the bank’s team collaborated to map out the entire customer journey on the app. The bank proposed integrating its Instant Payments Solution into the FMC App and enabled UPI collections from farmers.

The solution enhances the farmer experience with the bank providing the industry UPI best uptime assurance (>99.99%), minimal transaction rejects and 24/7 availability. The solution also verifies the farmer’s UPI virtual payment address (VPA), prior to initiating a collection request with their bank. After the farmer’s payment, FMC India would receive an instant credit notification via API, allowing order processing and service scheduling with the drone partner.

The integration between FMC India’s farmer app and Citi India’s UPI offers a cost-effective solution with a shorter implementation timeline, compared to the traditional payment gateway approach. It improves farmer experience as well streamlines FMC’s collection process. We are very pleased to be recognised by Treasury Today Group’s Adam Smith Awards Asia, which is known as the industry benchmark for corporate treasury achievement.

Oliver Li, Treasury Manager, Asia Pacific, FMC India Pvt Ltd

Best practice and innovation

India boasts one of the world’s largest active internet user bases. A recent Nielsen report revealed that rural India exceeded 425 million internet users in 2022, with substantial growth potential ahead. The nation also counted over 450 million smartphone users, with over 75% of farmer households owning smartphones. A parallel surge is evident in online banking and digital payments, where UPI has revolutionised the landscape. Its success can be attributed to its instantaneous payments, user-friendly experience and adaptability for diverse use cases.

The FMC App, integrated with Citi instant payments (UPI), harnesses India’s transformative digital expansion to provide a pioneering solution for farmers. The sector has traditionally witnessed only cash transactions which has acted as a bottleneck for corporates with limited on-ground presence and adding to intermediate cost. This solution bridges this gap adding farmers to the digital economy and widening the scope of AgriTech solutions to remote farmers. This integration also reduces technical complexity through Citi APIs, including real-time credit notifications and instant reconciliations. The API-centric approach automates the process, establishing an agile and flexible setup with minimal operational delays.

Key benefits

  • Cost savings.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Increased automation.

  • Improved visibility.

  • Errors reduced.

  • Manual intervention reduced.

  • Increased system connectivity.

  • Future-proof solution.

  • Exceptional implementation (budget/time).

  • Improved key performance indicator (KPI) metrics.

“As technology continues to evolve in the agriculture sector, drones are expected to constitute 2% of the total agricultural machinery spent in the country by the end of 2030. We will provide access to drone technology, training and financing to promote rural entrepreneurship. We take pride in being one of the pioneers of this service to the Indian farming community.”

Ravi Annamaria, President, FMC India

The Adam Smith Awards Asia is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2023 awards attracted 450 nominations. To find out more please visit treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards-asia

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