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All in the Farmily: Bringing Farmers, Markets Closer

Published: 24th August 2014 06:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2014 06:18 AM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: It is a well-known fact that farmers across the state and the country are exploited and face several problems when it comes to getting a fair price for their produce.

They are either underpaid or they don’t receive a fair price, or they are exploited by middlemen, face losses due to the growth of excess grains and the list goes on.

Many governments have tried to ensure that farmers get their dues and middlemen are eradicated, but their efforts have been an utter failure. Even the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, had said that the exploitation of farmers must stop, while they are given their dues at the same time.

In this direction, Karthik Natarajan, an entrepreneur from Bangalore, has started a website ‘Farmily.com,’ which he terms as the Facebook for the farming community.

The main objective of the site, according to Karthik, is to ensure that the product in question directly reaches the consumer from the farm, without the hindrance of middlemen. Also, the site will serve as a platform for buyers and farmers to meet online, so that the latter can know exact quantity required, so that there are no wastages.

Karthik, who was an integral part of IT major Juniper Networks, has been a part of several other start-ups. However, it is his passion for all things related to farming that pushed him to start Farmily.

Though the offering is his brain-child, he has also roped in his long term friend Christian Stredicke of Germany, but based in America, who is the chief technical officer.

“I grew up in a plantation as my grandfather and father were coffee planters. We also have a plantation in Sakleshpur, where organic farming methods are practiced. However, when we spoke to the farmers in and around the plantation, we were appalled to hear about their problems. They also requested me to incorporate information technology in their lives so that they were benefited. This started off the chain of thoughts for starting a farmer-friendly site to solve their problems,” said Karthik.

He said that another problem which is integral in the process of farming is the access to markets. For instance, he said that a banana grower sells his crop at `13 per kilogram to a middle-man, which changes hands, and finally when it is sold (in a foreign country for example), each kilogram fetches at least `200, due to which the farmer suffers a huge loss. 

“Buyers and farmers can meet on Farmily and interact with each other. They can get quotes directly, after which, a farmer can grow exactly what is required. The rate can also be mutually agreed upon by the parties concerned. Hence, the demand for a commodity can be predicted. Also, there is no database of farmers in the country. We believe that if done in the right manner, we will transform the agriculture industry,” added Karthik. The site has already witnessed around 4,000 registrations from all over the state and country since its incorporation around four months ago. The site will be expanded in foreign countries (South America and Africa) by the end of September. Currently, it is available in four languages — English, Kannada, Tamil and Hindi — so that farmers understand the nuances of the offering. Soon, several other languages will also be incorporated, while an android application is also being developed.

Karthik added that transporters will also be added on the site, so that the process of movement of the commodity between the farmers and the buyers is simplified. Farmily will eventually help in the development of the economy, as well as rural areas in the state and country, he added.

When contacted, Vinod Chirakkode, a farmer from Wayanad in Kerala who has registered on the site, said that the site will be a great value addition for farmers. “The offering is a very good concept and was much needed. However, transportation of the produce is a factor and this needs to be addressed too. Otherwise, Farmily will be highly beneficial,” he said.

Registration is free and those interested may mail info@farmily.com or call their toll-free number 1800-121-4142. 



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