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Mandi minus the middleman

on June 16, 2015

By Sharon Fernandes, TNN | 14 Jun, 2015, 03.23PM IST


Priyanka Shah’s is no aam farm. Yes, it does grow alphonsos but it doesn’t take them to the market via the middle-men, old school style. Instead, this second-generation farmer goes straight to that maha-market — the Internet. The upshot? Shah gets bulk orders ranging from 5-20 kg for the mangoes even before they are plucked, at a nifty price of Rs 90 per kg which is a good bargain for both Shah and her clients.

With a Facebook page dedicated to Shah Mango Farms, Priyanka has ensured that her 50-acre estate, which also grows chikoo and litchi, delivers great deals to the consumer. “Our family business is 50 years old, and it was time to get online. We now have buyers from Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Mumbai,” says the business graduate from Westminster University, who dispatches bulk orders from her Vapi farm to cities in Gujarat and Maharashtra. “We charge Rs 1,800 for 20 kg of alphonso – cheaper than marke ..
Further out west, in Pune, agriculture graduate Pratiksheet Avinash Malwadkar saw the scope of the online market for farmers and started his site paneerwala.in last year. “We grow garlic, sugarcane, chilli and drumstick.
However, we used to have 30 cows, and that is how the business began with milk products,” says the 28-year-old Malwadkar. “People think farmers are not aware of the Internet, but there many who use WhatsApp to keep in touch,” says Malwadkar who takes online orders for ghee, paneer, khoya, rice and some seasonal vegetables in and around Pune city. Besides his own product, he also sources from farmers nearby.
For Prabhal Mohandas, a farmer from Palakkad, Kerala, taking the brown ‘Matta’ rice online was a logical step. “We have a website (dakshfarm.com) and an android app (available on Google play). I get money directly from the customers and there is no worrying about distributors and middle men,” says Mohandas who supplies to clients in Karnataka, Bengal and Mumbai. “Many people sell artificially coloured rice in the market, so our rice is sought after since it is natural,” he says. Mohandas sells 150-200 kg rice per month for Rs 100 per kg, all grown on his 10-acre farm.
While Shah, Malwadkar and Mohandas have independently taken their produce online, not all farmers see the need to start their own website, but go with an aggregator who can help find them a suitable bulk or retail buyer online. MeraKisan.com is one such e-commerce platform for farmers. “We have removed the middlemen,” says Prashanth Patil, founder, Merakisan.com, who claims to have a database of over 18,000 farmers across India. This Bangalore-based portal which started operations last year also ..

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