Whrrl – Bringing Financial Inclusion with Blockchain

July 2022

The Agricultural sector, which accounts for 20.2 percent of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), is pivotal to our socio-economic prosperity. As per 2nd Advance Estimates for 2021-22, the total food grains production of the country is 23.80 million tonnes higher than the average production of the previous five years. Yet, the lives of farmers in India is of thankless toil. Among 150 million Indian farmer households, 87% are small and marginal farmers (SHF), who own less than 2 hectares of land. 80 percent of them face economic crises, with limited landholding and meager sources of income from the farm. 

Lack of access to lands or other properties that can be leveraged as collateral restrict farmers from getting institutional credit support. Due to lack of this credit support, farmers are forced to sell their commodities immediately, with some of the crops selling at 30-50% below minimum support price, resulting in the low income of farmers. The existing system is largely manual and is geared towards traders instead of farmers, while billions of dollars of banking frauds limit the growth of this sector. 

Warehouse Receipt (WHR) Finance is a product that helps such farmers with better price realization by deferring the sales of their crop. Headquartered in Mumbai, Whrrl is a Blockchain-enabled Agri Fintech startup revolutionizing the post-harvest ecosystem through its integrated blockchain platform by providing warehousing, warehouse receipt finance and marketplace facilities to the farmers. With its platform, Whrrl is solving problems of distress sales and lack of access to finance and market linkages faced by farmers.

With the innovative blockchain solution, Whrrl offers low-cost real-time loans to small farmers, helping them secure interim credit for their households or agricultural capital requirements, saving them from the debt trap of moneylenders. It also helps these farmers get better price realization by avoiding distress sales, and prevent wastage and post-harvest losses by facilitating storage in warehouses with better market linkage facilities.

“Every season when I go to banks for Warehouse Receipt Finance, they refuse to give loans and give multiple reasons for that. I was in need of money for buying inputs and my son's education. AnnDhan helped me by facilitating the loan in a day and I got a profit of 1000 Rupees more per quintal after storing and selling my commodities.”

Vitthal Santoba Wagh (Farmer from Maharashtra)

“Earlier, I used to keep my commodities in a warehouse in order to protect them from insects, but now I use this opportunity to get a loan. During the time of my deposit, the market price was low and later during Diwali, the rate increased and I sold them at a better price. I feel very satisfied by taking loans via Anndhan, as it offers low-interest rates and low warehouse rent.”

Bhagwan Bhaurao Chavan (Farmer from Maharashtra)

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India’s largest blockchain platform, Whrrl is currently live in 1400 warehouses across 5 states of India and has registered a transaction volume of Rs. 4,000 Cr. in the past one year. The platform has digitized warehouse receipts for more than 18,000 farmers and has disbursed Rs.50 Cr+ in digital loans in just one year.

Being one of the finalists of Cisco Agri Challenge, the Prize grant is helping Whrrl create a much larger impact across diverse demographics and expand to more geographies in India and outside. The more ease with which this solution is available to small and marginal farmers, the more growth they will be able to realize season-to-season, making their lives substantially better than before. The prize money and the platform, along with the network, is helping Whrrl become one of the pioneers of low-TAT, low-cost, secure Warehouse Receipt Finance in the country and beyond.