Start-up companies are bracing for the worst as their growing business meet tough challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis. Many of them respond by adapting their business model through optimising the use of digital technology and/or expanding their partnerships with other market players.
HARA, which focuses on blockchain-based data exchange for the food and agriculture sector, is amongst one of the start-ups to adjust their business strategy. The effort was taken as a necessary step in ensuring the sustainability and relevance of their business in the midst of the pandemic.
Social distancing measure has resulted in market disruption since consumers are required to stay at home. With consumers’ physical limitation to go to traditional markets, many sellers/traders are making less sales which could risk harvested crops going to waste. Recognising this challenge, HARA flips this situation around by establishing a new business unit which will focus on supporting the off-taking function in the market. Together PRISMA and HARA will utilise this unit to connect traders with traditional small shops (warungs) or agricultural e-commerce using their blockchain technology. Not only does this step help HARA to stay agile during the pandemic, the effort is also expected to help farmers’ produce reach the end consumers.
PRISMA’s partnership with HARA started off in 2017 with a focus on data-collection for agriculture research. Since 2018, PRISMA has shifted its partnership focus with HARA by supporting the development of strategies on: (1) incorporating kiosks as agents for farmers financing products through their work with financial institutions (FI); (2) acquiring agricultural data essential for FI’s credit scoring; and (3) bridging new partnerships with leading banks in Indonesia. Through this partnership, as per May 2020 HARA has supported several financial institutions in approving a total of 6,000 credit applications from farmers with loan value of more than 15 Billion Rupiah.