Online cattle trading platforms are cutting down transaction costs and helping cattle owners fetch better prices, says the Economist magazine in an article in its 23 April, 2022 edition. In livestock fairs, farmers have to pay entry fees to register their animals. There are loading and unloading charges. Cattle thieves are a worry. Making repeat sales pitches to prospective buyers can be tiring. And if the animals are not sold, they have to be brought back home. That’s an additional cost.
Online trading platforms like Pashushala and Animall try to make the trading process efficient by requiring sellers to upload videos and pictures of their cattle. Details like breed, age, past pregnancies, and milk yield have to be provided. A team from the platforms calls up every user to verify the information. A close-up of the cow’s udders is important. Farmers also have to speak of the animal’s temperament.
The article has testimonials of people who sold their cattle on the platforms. One of them, from Maharashtra, sold his cow for Rs 45,000 to a buyer who lives just 20 km away. He reckons he saved about Rs 10,000 in commission to the middleman.
Such online trading platforms can bring order in a fragmented market that has 75 million dairy farmers. They make money by charging fees or providing extra, paid, services such as online appointments. Animall claims to have made 10 lakh sales transactions since it was set up in 2019 and has received $23 million in investment. Pashushala the first such start-up founded in 2018, aims to “democratise cattle.”
(Top photo of a farmer examining an animal in Maharashtra before buying, by Vivian Fernandes)