HYDERABAD: Venkata Surya Trinadh Vatti may have never imagined that the COVID-19’s health norms will boost up the demand for healthy organic vegetables. He is a Hyderabad-based Chartered Accountant who has worked for over 16 years abroad and later consulted for the World Bank on a sustainability project switched over from his IT work to farming.
Today, he practices Maharashtrian farming legend Subhash Palekar’s farming to be able to supply the entire month’s vegetables and fruits to 96 families in Hyderabad from his 30-acre farm on the Nagarjuna Sagar Highway. And the produce is sent out to the city through the Farm2Fridge website and app across the twin cities.
This jean-toting farmer says that he was shocked to know how farmers, who feed the whole nation, are sometimes left to fend for themselves and felt the need to spread the word about organic farming and help them double their current income.
“It may take five years to break even, but it eventually is a profitable model. Before the state bifurcation, I was the resource person on organic farming and have trained over 2,500 farmers. I teach them not only how to get good yields but also make the farm ready to be sold at a premium price if they want.”
Venkat has been supplying groceries in Hyderabad for the last two years and the demand has spiked during COVID-19 times.
“People are more conscious about what they buy and from whom. During COVID-19 times when even big corporates could not supply, I did over 800 deliveries, thanks to my 15-member team working for 18 hours a day.”
Although he admits that the cost of an average basket from Farm2Fridge would be about 10 percent more than the market price, he says that his concept eliminates middlemen and directly home delivers it to the households. He also sources out any vegetables from anywhere in India, thanks to the national highway network, to ensure groceries are delivered at home.
“Typically it takes 12 hours for veggies to reach from Adilabad to Bowenpally market. But it takes another day for it to be segregated and sent to the wholesaler, then to the retailer and the card vendor. But we can do it the same day,” he claims. He has studied the Hyderabad vegetable markets and the typical buying behaviour before he decided to launch his concept. So any key takeaways from his behind-the-scenes four-week study at the Hyderabad vegetable markets?
“The average price of tomatoes is Rs 40 per kg. Never pay more,” he quips.
Venkat also believes a farmer couple can easily earn Rs 30K onwards and live a sustainable life when they use organic methods which are time tested. Venkat gets back to his farm on a wet day to figure out how he will do the logistics for a corporate bank’s customers as part of their alliance partners programme.
— Manju Latha Kalanidhi