KOCHI: Farmers Fresh Zone, a Kochi-based agri tech -startup, is creating a new path in the marketing of organic vegetable produced by small-scale farmers in five districts of Kerala. The company offers the farmers in this network, around 200 in number, an online part form to sell their produce without the intervention of middlemen thereby ensuring areasonable price for the produce.Farmers Fresh Zone was founded by Pradeep P S, a graduate in Computer science. Coming from a family of agriculture background, Pradeep came to know the need for proper marketing of agriculture produce when he noticed some of his family members themselves finding it difficult to sell their produce at a reasonable price. This prompted Pradeep to explore the possibilities of e-commerce for marketing of the produce of farmers and thus founded Farmers fresh Zone.
‘’We represent the collapsing agricultural sector of our country. After studying the vegetable market, we understood customers are compelled to buy vegetables and fruits sprayed with excessive pesticides by paying high price and farmers are not compensated for their efforts. Therefore we decided to connect the customers who are struggling to find out the natural sources of fresh and pure vegetables with the farmers,’’ says Pradeep.
Customers can order products through the website www.farmersfz.com. “ We have introduced some new features for customers which makes this website different from other e-commerce platforms. Details of the farmer who produced a particular vegetable are added to the site and the customer can verify the details of who produced it. Farm visits can also be arranged for customers and if a customers wish is to meet the farmer who produced the vegetable , it is also made possible,’’ said Pradeep, Farmers Fresh Zone chief executive officer and founder.
The two-year-old company, through the door delivery and four outlets serves 10,000 customers in Kochi city alone. The company which has achieved an annual turn over of R1 crore in two years, is targeting a turn over of R20 crore by 2020.There is no storage facility thus averting the risk of keeping perishable goods for a long time.
“Either through door delivery or sale through outlets, we deliver the product to the customer within 24 hours of harvesting, therefore, we do not have cold storage or freezer- like storage facilities. We receive pre-booking. Therefore we deliver fresh produce only,’’ he said.For customers, farmersfz.com is an e-commerce site, but for farmers, it is an easy option to sell their produce without the intervention of middlemen. Farmers from Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Palakkad and Wayanad are now part of this network.
The company also conducts market studies and alerts farmers regarding the prices. “This helps them to produce what customers are looking for. Farmers are usually unaware of the market feedback. Feedback provided by us help them to produce the vegetable sought after in the market during a particular period,’’ Pradeep said.