Novel e-platform for farmers’ produce

Novel e-platform for farmers’ produce
Highlights

At a time farmers are losing to market forces while selling away their produce, here is a Startup which thought of helping them to get remunerative price for their produce. OurFood, started by Bala Reddy with the help of his friends, is focusing on providing remunerative price for farm produce.

Food for thought

Hyderabad: At a time farmers are losing to market forces while selling away their produce, here is a Startup which thought of helping them to get remunerative price for their produce. OurFood, started by Bala Reddy with the help of his friends, is focusing on providing remunerative price for farm produce.

Bala Reddy, alumni of IIM-Ahmadabad, started OurFood with the aim of minimising gap between the farmer and the consumer and avoiding middlemen as far as possible. The startup which is recognised by Nasscom is among the 10,000 now working from the T-Hub here.

Generally, the farmer takes his produce to the agriculture market yard where the commission agent purchases his produce and sells it to the miller. After processing the produce, the miller sells it to the wholesale trader who in turn sell it to the retail trader from whom finally the consumer purchases. In this process the produce changes six to seven hands before reaching the consumer.

The value of produce increases every time it changes hands since there would be handling charges for loading and unloading at every stage. Ultimately, neither the farmer nor the consumer benefits in this system. Even if he wants to go for processing the produce on his own, financially the Telangana farmer is not in a position to undertake processing.

According to statistics, 86 per cent of the farmers are small and marginal in Telangana who cultivate forty per cent of the produce in the State. They are compelled to sell the produce to the middlemen, who make wads of money without much hard work.

Bala Reddy told The Hans India that OurFood would help the farmer to get remunerative price at the time of supplying the value-added product to the consumer at reasonable price. OurFood provides three types of opportunities to the farmer.

The company purchases produce directly from the farmer at his home. It also provides an opportunity to the farmer to process his produce if he wants. The farmer could also be given a chance to store his produce in the godown and he would be alerted if there was good price in the market. “The farmers who do not have any facilities would ultimately enjoy benefits in this system,” Bala Reddy says.

A processing unit at a cost of Rs 70 lakh is coming up at Kohir mandal in Sangareddy district which would be opened in the first week of January. The unit, which would have the capacity of 1,000 metric tonnes, would process pulses like red gram, Bengal gram, black gram and green gram. “This unit would serve the farmers of three mandals,” Bala Reddy said.

Efforts are on to start four more processing units at Mahbubnagar, Khammam, Nizamabad and Karimnagar depending upon the variety of produce in the respective areas. The farmers need not take the produce too far to sell or process it. Elaborating the working of the company, Bala Reddy said that the farmer could approach the quality manager at the processing centre by making a phone call or through an app if he wants to sell a quintal of red gram.

The quality manager would go to the farmer’s house directly with quality checking tools to test humidity, impurities, colour, size, millable quotient and other details before fixing the price after verifying in the nearby market. It is the choice of the farmer to sell the produce if the rate quoted was acceptable. Bala Reddy said that they are starting the processing centre with less risky pulses and soon venture into introducing machinery for processing paddy and others.

Agriculture expert Sarampalli Malla Reddy said that the income of the farmer would improve considerably if he is given a chance to process his produce. For instance, out of one quintal raw red gram, the farmer would get 80 kg after processing which would get him Rs 8,000 in the market. However, he is getting hardly Rs 5,000 now. Likewise, the farmer is getting Rs 1,500 per quintal paddy and if he processes it and sell rice he would get more than Rs 3,200 per quintal, Malla Reddy told The Hans India.

Bala Reddy said that before starting the processing centre at Sangareddy district, they started a pilot project at T-Hub which helped several farmers to get remunerative price. For instance, Lakshma Reddy of Edakalapalli village sold fifty quintals of green gram to the company at the rate of Rs 5,200 per quintal as against the market price of Rs 4,800. He said that apart from getting more price and cash on the spot he saved Rs 50 per bag for transportation.

He needs to pay three to five per cent commission at the agriculture market yard he takes his produce there. The company directly purchases produce from his home and paying cash on the spot, he said and added that since the OurFood is starting their unit near his village, he is expecting more price for his produce. Gopal of Chilkapalli village Jara Sangham mandal said that he sold 15 quintals of red gram to OurFood gaining Rs 400 more per quintal.

Kiran of Swarajya Vedika said that the government should provide opportunity to the farmers to process their produce. “Five or more villages should be formed as a cluster for establishing processing centres, he said. If they are established on cooperative basis, the farmers would get the benefits and the consumer would get the same at reasonable price.

By Kankanala Naveen Reddy

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