Should Agri-Input Manufacturers Outsource E-Commerce to Startups?

Editor’s note: Venky Ramachandran is a contributing writer for’s sister site, This article was originally published on LinkedIn.


Now, when we work with this question, depending on where the stress is placed, it contains many questions — all of which are real questions — asked again and again when you think deeply about bringing digital transformation to agriculture. Here are few possible versions:

1) Should agri-input manufacturers outsource e-commerce to startups?

2) Should agri-input manufacturers outsource e-commerce to startups?

3) Should agri-input manufacturers outsource e-commerce to startups?

The answers and the assumptions they hold beneath about the future of agribusiness are just as various.

Let us perhaps, focus on the most critical one.

Those who respond positively to the first question often spell out their critical assumption loud and clear: Making quality products for farmers is our only core business. It has so far led us on an organic growth trajectory. Why divert attention from that? Everything else, including technology which facilitates traceability and builds relationships with channel partners are, at best, non-core activities, and can be outsourced to dime a dozen work-for-hire vendors.

But, there is a problem.

What happens when today’s non-core activities become value-added activities tomorrow? What happens when mastering them becomes a question of strategic vision and therefore, needs to be kept inside, or at least with trusted partners?


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