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Farm Fresh: Bridging the gap between farm and table

Agri-tech startup Farmers Family raises funding from promoters of Safex Chemicals; signs MoU with IIM Lucknow-Enterprise Incubation Centre

The money raised would be majorly invested in technology and marketing activities and also to scale up operations of the company.

COVID has brought the importance of physical and mental fitness to the forefront of people’s consciousness. Many are still confined to their homes and among them, there is an increased focus on overall wellness – from physical activity to the type of food they consume. Farmers Family is an initiative which aims to provide healthy and quality farm produce directly from the farms to consumers.

This Noida-based agri-tech venture relies on modern technology to promote fresh fruit and vegetables; it even has its own branded grocery retails business with quality and consistent supply as its cornerstone. It has varied distribution channels through its website, app, moving e-carts and franchise stores (to be launched).

Recently, Farmers Family announced it has garnered funding from Neeraj Jindal and Piyush Jindal, the promoters of Safex Chemicals; some other investors also participated in the seed round. So far, it has raised around Rs 10 million from friends and family and high networth individuals with the major portion of the fund raised invested in setting up of the distribution centre and product supply chain system. The money raised would be majorly invested in technology and marketing activities and also to scale up operations of the company.

Farmers Family signed a long-term memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IIM Lucknow-Enterprise Incubation Centre (IIML-EIC). According to this, Farmers Family will receive guidance from IIML-Incubator expert mentors, investors, experienced and successful senior business and corporate sector executives and industry veterans on a broad range of topics, including the fundamentals of setting up a business, identifying suppliers, the appropriate location for the business, insights on emerging technologies, pricing of the product, marketing, developing effective business processes, among others.

“Our simple motto is ‘We farm. You eat.’ Our products are sourced directly from farms and sent to consumers after being thoroughly cleaned with ultrasonic technology and hygienically packed at our production units,” says Vikal Kulshreshtha, co-founder and CEO, Farmers Family.

“Making clean and healthy fruits and vegetables (F&V) available at affordable prices sparked the idea. As across the country in the last two decades, there has been substantial rise in deadly diseases due to consumption of F& V having high contents of sulphur, phosphorus, etc. Since F&V constitutes 65% of daily food intake it is very important to understand the pre-harvest and post harvest health of the crop,” he explains.

In less than a year of business commencement, Farmers Family has successfully tied up with 20 resident welfare associations (RWA) covering multiple locations of trans Hindon area of Ghaziabad, all sectors of Noida and Greator Noida, Mayur Vihar Phase 1 in Delhi with a market size of 20 lakh households. It has set up a supply chain cycle from farm locations at Hapur and Muzaffarnagar (UP), Pauri and Ghanshali (Uttarakhand) and regional sourcing of grocery items from Rajasthan.

“At present, Farmers Family is using high-end post harvest technology under which when produce gets ready, we use this technology for cleaning and washing purposes. We use bubble and jet-wash techniques so that we can remove a large quantity of pesticide residues from our products. This is followed by ultraviolet clearance for reducing microbial loads of pathogens on fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Kulshreshtha.

“For root vegetables, Farmers Family is using dry roller machines so that the dust particles can be removed from vegetables and fruits and can be used for peeling purposes also if we spray some water into the machines. In this way, we are trying to remove 60-70% of pesticides and other harmful substances on the outer surface of fruit or vegetables in the post-harvest process,” says Kulshreshtha.

“We are also planning to delve into the inner health of our produce so that we can provide information to our consumers on what’s the condition of the produce, its composition, nutrient content, good time to eat and how much to eat. We are also planning to launch some pre-harvest technologies that will be beneficial for our farmers,” he adds.

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