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This IIM-Lucknow incubated start-up by a CA is all in to address supply chain issues in agritech and bridge the gap between farmers and consumers

This IIM-Lucknow incubated start-up by a CA is all in to address supply chain issues in agritech and bridge the gap between farmers and consumers

Idea of going back to the roots came during extensive travel to country sides for tourism purposes and meeting locals, most of which were engaged in agricultural occupation since generations. Despite of hard work in the fields, living conditions of farmers are not improving compared to people living in cities. Secondly, people who are living in cities are deprived of healthy food items even after paying high value for the products. To fill this gap the founders, CA Mayank Kulshrestha & Vikal Kulshreshtha, developed an idea to bring farmers produce directly to consumers, helping farmers earn more as well give healthy food produce to the consumers. In this scenario both will be the winners and also have gratitude for each other. So, making availability of clean & healthy fruits & veggies (F&V) to the common families at affordable price sparked the idea to the launch of Farmers Family.

Farmers Family is all about providing healthy produce to consumers and providing right price for to the farmers. Their motto is ‘We Farm, you eat!’. They are currently focused on post-harvest management of agro products, thereby managing supply chains, ensuring traceability of produce and adopting our farm cycles as per needs of consumers with the integration of technology.

founder CA Mayank Kulshrestha and Vikal KulshreshthaFarming was always in the blood of promoters as their ancestors were engaged in agriculture for their livelihood in respective villages. They were born and brought up in cities and are first generation entrepreneurs, one of them from tourism and hospitality background and other one a Chartered Accountant by profession, but having two traits in common – they are passionate travellers and have great interests in incubating and conceiving business ideas from scratch. Professionally, Mayank was into his practice of Chartered Accountancy for the last 8 years with specialized focus on providing consultancy to startups on compliance management as well as other issues. Vikal was into hospitality business for the past 20+ years and he was providing consultancy to hotel owners to successfully set up their business.

In the last two decades, we have witnessed a substantial rise in the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiac issues for our poor dietary and lifestyle influences. Consuming veggies and fruits, which have high contents of sulphur and phosphorus, is injurious to health. Since fruit and vegetables constitutes 65% of daily food intake, it is very important to understand the Pre-Harvest & Post Harvest health of the crop. Farmers Family is committed to provide safe and washed agriculture produce directly to the consumer.

founder Farmers Family “We started penning down the concept in March, 2020 at the time of nationwide lockdown. That time proved to be a boon for us to take out time for our passion from our regular busy schedule. We completed our research on every aspect and finally zeroed upon a strategic location to set up our distribution centre and finally started commercial operations around December, 2020. Till July, we have over 3000 B2C consumers and currently we are also piloting B2B sales model with more than 125 registered vendors. Recently, we have been selected by IIM-Lucknow Enterprise Incubation Centre as promising start-up for their startup incubation programme,” recalls Mayank.

The two initial challenges were to create a robust end to end supply chain and the other one to educate consumers on need of healthy products. The first challenge was addressed by Mr. Vikal as he has a strong ground connect with farmers in the western region of Uttar Pradesh. So, before they launched, they had their collection centres set up and operational to test supply chain cycle. With regards to educating consumers about the need of healthy products, they are continuously doing anything and everything to get this thing in the minds of consumers.

Farmers Family has already secured seed funding from investors including promoters of Safex Chemicals group and initiated discussions with potential investors for raising Pre-Series ‘A’ round and the founders are quite sure to close the round in a months’ time.

In the next few years, they foresee a sizeable shift of consumers towards us as they are focused on quality and health aspect and not merely treating products as inventory. They plan to replicate this distribution centre at already shortlisted cities and become a people’s choice for healthy F & V.

Mayank’s view-point on the start-up community in India is, “at an exciting stage, where businesses with unique idea or doing things in a unique way are being given their share of credits and the ecosystem is recognizing the strength of a start-up build correctly and working in right direction. Investor community is also changing with the needs and evolvement of start-up community.”

His advice for upcoming start up founders will be to thoroughly research about any sector they plan to enter and to learn from mistakes of others. The idea may seem great at inception but gradually you may start losing interest. You have to be attached to it in a way that you have to make it a success anyhow and enjoy what you do. Try to keep things as simple as possible and be open for suggestions from the subject experts. Have your pillars in place before starting out.

Farmers Family is a more of an initiative than mere a business to uplift financial condition of the farmers by getting fair value of their products and to also provide healthy produce to consumers. There will be more engagements with farmers and farmers welfare programmes as we move forward in this journey. “I am glad Farmers Family is marching ahead on the right path for bringing changes in the life of farmers and consumers,” concluded Mayank.

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