Farming with a “glocal” mission
Born in 2020, Indi Farmers believes in directly & ethically sourcing products from technologically empowered farmers and delivering them to the customers’ door steps. Its USPs include practising climate-smart agriculture in accordance with global good agricultural practices, integrated pest management and data driven stringent ICS protocols for optimal MRLs.
One of the key challenges that Indian farmers face, and which the government is trying to address through various measures like e-NAM & its measures to double the income of farmers by 2022, is the low price realization of agricultural produce. This is attributed to an abundance of produce and lower demand as well as the existence of middlemen, which results in the exploitation of both farmers and consumers. What adds to the woes of the farmers is the highly fragmented nature of markets, as they don’t have adequate market access or the requisite infrastructure like all-weather transport, storage and processing facilities for marketing their crops.
This is where Indi Farmers Sustainable Ventures Pvt Ltd is looking to step in. Born in 2020, when the world was battling the COVID-19 pandemic, this agricultural start-up has a vision of connecting the country’s farming community with consumers across the globe. Its business model incorporates direct & ethical sourcing of products from technologically empowered farmers and delivering them to the customers’ doorsteps.
This is a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers. The former benefit by paying relatively lower prices than those determined by the forces of demand & supply for better quality products, while the latter benefit from a better price realisation for their crops.
Leveraging on India’s rich agricultural produce, some of the key products that the company offers are grains like rice, wheat, soybean, maize, buckwheat, kidney beans and finger millet. Some of these products are also grown as per NOP/NPOP organic standards. It also works with (conventional & NOP/NPOP/IPM GAP Compliant) spices like cumin, coriander, chilli, turmeric, ginger and large cardamom; as well as in fresh, frozen and processed fruits & vegetables like apples, pomegranates, kinnows, potatoes and onions.
As a part of its wellness & nutrition range, Indi Farmers dabbles in a range of herbal products, comprising ingredients like amla, aloe vera, moringa, karela jamun, etc. It offers beverages, powders, extracts, gummies & ready-to-cook breakfast mixes with these herbs.
Indi Farmers gives its customers the option to choose its private labelling service or the option to buy in bulk. They also extend contract farming services. The products are procured from their large farming network, which is spread across the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar & Sikkim.
Indi Farmers is a joint venture comprising of well-known names in India’s agriculture technology and consumer health conglomerates – IFFCO Group & Baidyanath.
Baidyanath has a 100-year legacy in re-establishing ancient Ayurvedic knowledge with modern research. Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), is one of the world’s largest agri-cooperative societies comprising of more than 35,000 cooperative societies across India. Along with its subsidiary, IFFCO Kisan, it pioneers in bringing cutting edge technology-based use cases to the agri ecosystem in India. IFFCO-Sikkim Organics, is dedicated to organic cultivation promotion. Baidyanath and enterprises from IFFCO group are well aligned to augment the envisaged mission of Indi Farmers Sustainable Ventures Pvt Ltd to have a competitive edge in the industry.
Following are the main attributes of the brand promise that Indi Farmers offers to its stakeholders:
- Sustainable agriculture: Climate-smart agriculture is a must to feed the growing population with limited resources throughout the year, enhance exports and also ensure environmental health, social and economic equity.
- International accreditation: The product is in accordance with global good agricultural practices (GAP), integrated pest management (IPM) compliant produce and data-driven stringent ICS protocols for optimal MRLs.
- Better price discovery: By bypassing the middlemen, Indi Farmers Sustainable Ventures Pvt Ltd enables strategic buying based on market intelligence driven by direct on-ground insights from farmers.
- Controlled cultivation through data-oriented decision support system: Farms earmarked by this support system can be monitored & controlled remotely through a programmed portal to determine the performance of the farm in terms of practices, health, micro-ecosystem, productivity & production.
- Irrigation automation: This not only helps optimise the use of a scarce resource like water but also offers a comprehensive analysis of soil health.
- Pest & disease prediction: Technologies like image capturing, remote sensing & M. L. based algorithms can be leveraged for pest control & disease prediction. At the same time, it can also offer insights into yield prediction.
- Actionable advisories: Data-driven customized & personalised farming solutions are offered to farmers through AI & IoT integration.
- Traceability: The use of all these technologies establishes end-to-end farm traceability in the production process through real-time updates across the supply chain including tracking, documentation & notifications.
- Customization: Right from growing different kinds of crops, to processing, packaging and shipping, Indi Farmers Sustainable Ventures Pvt Ltd offers products handcrafted as per their clients’ needs.
Kagome case study: A stepping stone to success
Kagome Co. Ltd. is a Japan-based manufacturer and distributor of tomato-based foods, and fruit and vegetable juices. The brand has established itself as a leading name in the world when it comes to products like tomato ketchup and juices.
In order to fulfil its orders, the brand recently started turning to other nations, including India, to procure tomatoes. This is where the global leader in tomato processing reached out to IFFCO Kisan, for tomato cultivation/processing/trading. IFFCO Kisan, having its strong capabilities in leveraging ICT, IoT and AI along with rich agriculture domain expertise agreed to collaborate. As a part of this project, IFFCO Kisan worked with 140 Indian farmers, who managed to deliver 35 metric tonnes (MT) per day to processing facilities in the country. Around 260 acres of land in the country was utilised for tomato cultivation as a part of this project & in total, 5,000 MT of desired quality tomatoes were produced and procured from the engaged farmers and successfully processed at designated processing facilities.
IFFCO Kisan’s highly customisable end-to-end traceability platform called Krishi Dev Gyan (KDG) enabled the Kagome Co. Ltd. as well as farmers with better market intelligence through hyper-local weather forecast, PoP implementation, proactive pest & disease management and a proper harvesting schedule which helped minimize post-harvest losses. It was a win-win project since farmers got 10-15% higher realization while Kagome incurred 5-6% less for production.
As 2021 rings in, Indi Farmers wishes to mirror the success of this endeavour & enhance its presence in the national & international markets. The firm also envisions to enhance its customer base in the domestic market by reaching out to platforms like Amazon & Flipkart. Through trade shows like IndusFood 2021, it is also exploring ways to connect with bulk buyers of agri produce based in markets like the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand & Middle East primarily through long term contracts.