Maharashtra’s Aniket Gharge and Jay Sidhpura began the Indian Farmer Entrepreneurs (IFE) Retailer, an internet market to assist farmers immediately promote their produce and value-added merchandise to customers with out the interference of middlemen.
Maharashtra’s Sachin Gore grows sugarcane and turmeric in his 3.5-acre farmland however was at all times depending on middlemen to promote his produce.
“I used to promote merchandise to middlemen at a fee of 30 %. If I give them produce for Rs 90 per kg, they promote it for Rs 120-150. So, they had been those reaping the income for my produce,” he tells The Higher India.
Exploitation by intermediaries within the farming sector is a longstanding difficulty. Regardless of being the producers, farmers obtain much less earnings within the farm-to-consumer provide chain, which is managed by middlemen.
A couple of years again, the 43-year-old farmer even tried to take his life. “Our scenario was very unhealthy. We might not get adequate earnings for our produce. I’ve a household of eight to take care of,” shares the Gove village resident.
Right this moment, the farmer can promote his produce-based merchandise, like jaggery and turmeric powder, via the Indian Farmer Entrepreneurs (IFE) Retailer. This on-line market liberates farmers from middlemen’s management.
“Right here, we would not have to provide any quantity for fee. We discover this method extraordinarily helpful for small farmers like me as we can’t promote a lot produce alone. It additionally helps us promote to locations aside from Maharashtra,” says Sachin, who manages to get orders for as much as 50 kg of produce from the platform.
Behind the e-commerce platform are faculty associates Aniket Gharge and Jay Sidhpura. They’ve collaborated with at the least 20 farmers from throughout Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh because the launch of the platform in 2022.
Eliminating the hurdle
Coming from a household of farmers, Aniket from Vadagaon village in Satara at all times had a ardour for farming. After graduating in laptop engineering, he labored in an online growth firm in Pune for a yr. Nevertheless, in 2017, he took the leap and began his personal YouTube channel to share tales of farmers.
“Since my college days, I wish to communicate to farmers and perceive their points,” says Aniket, who has round 2.5 lakh subscribers on his YouTube channel right now.
Throughout the stint, he discovered that though the federal government promotes natural farming, there was hardly any devoted market the place farmers can promote such merchandise with out the assistance of intermediaries.
“Farmers earn higher earnings with value-added natural merchandise, however no one tells them the place they’ll promote them. Additionally, a bulk of their time goes into rising crops and can’t make investments their power in advertising and marketing the merchandise,” he says.
“Due to this fact, they’d promote their merchandise domestically, however regardless of good high quality, they’d not earn as a lot as they need to due to middlemen. So I needed to create a big market for farmers in order that they’ll earn respectable incomes with none interference,” provides the 28-year-old.
So final yr, Aniket mixed his curiosity in farming and tech background to launch a market for farmers alongside together with his faculty good friend Jay, who manages product listings on the web site. With hardly any funding, they designed the web site to assist farmers immediately promote their merchandise to customers and get rid of the lengthy chain of intermediaries.
Farmers attain out to Aniket via his YouTube channel and social media. Aniket then visits their farms to examine the merchandise. Farmers should present FSSAI licenses for the merchandise. As soon as the registration course of is accomplished, which includes sharing their info and product particulars, the merchandise are listed on the web site.
The collected merchandise are saved in Aniket’s warehouse in Satara till they’re distributed to customers based mostly on demand. When orders are available, the merchandise are packaged from the warehouse and dispatched to prospects through courier service.
“In case your product prices Rs 100, then we are going to show the identical. We don’t cost something aside from the packaging value which is Rs 10. For our customers, we’ve additionally recorded documentaries on the manufacturing and processing of every of our merchandise,” says Aniket, who concurrently runs a digital advertising and marketing enterprise for survival.
Highlighting one of many challenges in operating such a market, he says, “Typically, merchandise didn’t ship due to carelessness on the finish of courier corporations. Now we have to make a number of calls to make sure merchandise attain customers on time.”
Nevertheless, “The advantages of the system are larger than its challenges. In a span of a yr, we’re estimated to have practically doubled their earnings. This has additionally helped farmers increase the shopper base from Maharashtra to throughout the nation,” he provides. With IFE Retailer, farmers are in a position to promote their merchandise to prospects in additional than 15 states together with Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Assam.
The platform presently has over 25 classes of merchandise — together with jaggery candies, air fresheners, pickles, rose jam, millet merchandise, and spices. Thus far, they’ve managed to cater to about 340 prospects, and Aniket plans to increase the e-commerce enterprise in different states and join extra farmers to the platform.
It’s with this motivation that Aniket continues to do the work regardless of reluctance from his household.
“My mother and father are farmers, however they at all times needed me to give up farming and earn an honest earnings in an engineering job within the metropolis. I consider that I might have established profession within the IT sector, the place there would have been job safety. However I’m lucky to pursue my ardour and be of some assist to farmers on the identical time,” he shares.
Edited by Pranita Bhat