Bengaluru startup links farmers with online market

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Bangalore | Published: May 28, 2015 12:52:34 AM

Farmily India, a Bengaluru-based startup, is carving a niche for itself by focusing on the farm sector.

Farmily India, a Bengaluru-based startup, is carving a niche for itself by focusing on the farm sector.

Farmily is trying to link and map farmers and buyers through its mobile app and portal, creating an online marketplace for farmers at a time when many are finding it hard to make ends meet.

Farmily India is a 100% subsidiary of Farmily Inc, incorporated in the US and promoted by Karthik Natarajan, a serial entrepreneur and three others.

Coming from a family of planters, Natarajan says, it was a question and a sense of worry expressed by the farmers in Karnataka that led to the formation of Farmily. “During my philanthropic work in the villages of Karnataka, farmers asked me as to what IT, which has brought fame to Bengaluru, had given to them? Perhaps Nothing! This prompted me to research on this topic and see how I could be of help to them. Thus, Farmily,” Natarajan said.

Through the platform, the farmers are given a digital presence through a microsite, where they can showcase their farm and post the quantity and price of their produce. On the other hand, it also allows buyers to place a bid for the farm produce. A mobile message will be delivered to the farmer as soon as the buyer places an order or expresses interest. In turn, farmers can respond to the demand and will be able to negotiate and conclude deals online.
However, this does not completely eliminate intermediaries. Middlemen can still register with Farmily, but the farmers will be in a commanding position as they can decide whom to sell and at what price.

“We are just asking farmers to produce to demand and avoid food wastage. This interface is also beneficial to buyers as they know where their food is coming from and will help farmers have a long-standing relation with the end customers,” says Natarajan.

Being an eCommerce platform for the rural consumer base whose access to the internet is limited has many challenges. For now,  Farmily is targeting only farmers who are a little tech savvy. The question now is about logistics — Who will bear the transportation cost and how will it be delivered to customers? For now, it’s between the buyers and sellers to decide. But as the platform evolves, Farmily is looking at arranging logistics on the lines of Flipkart and Amazon, and also plans to tie up with cold-storage centers.

“We are in the process of raising funds and will formalise a deal by June end. And once we have a strong database, in the long run, perhaps advertisement from farm insurance companies, agriculture department, fertiliser companies and exporters can be a source of revenue for us,”  Natarajan said.

Farmily, which started in August last year, has already crossed 10,000-plus downloads and claims 80% are farmers. Through an interactive map, the buyers can search farmers within a particular kilometer range for a given commodity.

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