A Delhi-based agritech startup Farmley, has quietly created a B2B marketplace to help farmers get their due from traders who traditionally gain more from sales and export of goods. Focusing on non-perishable food items such as makhana or fox nuts, it has taught appropriate techniques to cultivators to get high-quality makhana by segregating the nuts by size, color, moisture, and other parameters and selling them at better prices. This is done in compliance with standards expected by the end market, retailers, food processing brands, and exporters.
Being better equipped with such domain knowledge helps farmers and growers fare better in their yield to sell. Armed with knowledge about the demand and how to achieve those qualities, the growers fare better.
IIT alumni Akash Sharma and Abhishek Agarwal launched Farmley three years ago as a B2B marketplace for high-value non-perishables like nuts, seeds, dry fruits, spices, and honey. They sought to create a niche in an agritech startup hub otherwise dominated by the supply of perishables for urban consumers.
Most of the farmer producer organizations (FPOs) and small and medium processors that we deal with have very limited understanding of the evolving quality parameters and manufacturing practices that can increase their incomes, says Akash Sharma.
Farmley’s niche is farming and sale of less organized non-perishables like walnuts, makhana, and cashew. It recently created its brand under the same name. The platform offers 10 items, makhana, cashews, almonds, raisins, walnut, quinoa, chia, pista, sunflower seeds and watermelon seeds. Its current customers include big names in the food industry, like Big Bazaar, Reliance Retail, Metro Cash & Carry, Grofers, Haldirams, BigBasket, and Flipkart. Farmers can sell directly, in bulk, to these companies, and earn the best profit margins on every commodity.
Despite a hit in business due to COVID-19, Sharma says Farmley is procuring overproduce worth over 300 metric tonnes, double the figures at the start of the year.
Essentially, what we’re doing is bridging the gap between demand and supply due that has emerged from changing consumer behaviour, says Sharma, adding that the pandemic has also changed business dynamics. The added focus on hygiene has meant Farmley is investing in installing conveyor belts and detectors to qualify for FSSAI certification.
Agritech startup Farmley has sought to address the lack of supply owing, in turn, to a lack of standardization by getting closely involved with food processing organizations. This focus on the horizontal supply chain has helped them distinguish themselves and withstand competition.
In three years, agritech startup Farmley claims to have increased the profit margins of farmers by 200 percent. With the agritech startup space promising much-needed succor to farmers, the scope of companies like Farmley to address rural distress is endless.