In a country with approx 100-150 million farmer population, it is imperative to create an ecosystem that helps the food producers thrive. Yet, the current Indian agricultural market is fraught with several challenges- for farmers and consumers alike. The traditional mandi format of selling fruits and vegetables is highly unorganized and inefficient, leaving farmers with meager profits. On the other hand, consumers are faced with the challenge of finding pure dairy, vegetables, and fruits. That’s the gap Farmsnation aims to bridge.
Farmsnation Inc is a platform that connects farmers directly to the end consumers. By digitizing the farmers’ markets, it strives to provide increased benefits to farmers as well as consumers. The founders claim that Farmsnation was built to provide a transparent way for customers to buy from farmers, and in the process, reward farmers with a fair price for the quality.
The platform is a great fit in today’s ecosystem where consumers find appeal in the idea of buying fresh produce directly from the grower, especially at a competitive rate. But in the current scenario, consumers often feel compromised by the quality of the produce they find in the local mandis, grocery stores, or online delivery apps. One can only hope what they’re buying is clean and pure as even the seller has little idea about its source and purity. And even when high-quality produce is made available, it is sold at a 10X price with a high retailer margin. According to Farmsnation, farmers also face a myriad of obstacles. They suffer as part of fractured food production and delivery system, designed to be neither in their favor nor the consumers’. The middlemen buy their produce at rock-bottom prices and sell it to mandis at inflated costs. Farmers also struggle with finding good customers in their area and inefficiencies in distribution, which leads them to produce and sell inferior quality products.
Recognizing the need for a more efficient online marketplace for farmers’ produce, Farmsnation took control of the fruits, vegetables, and dairy shopping experience by helping customers discover farmers anywhere in India and buy from them directly. The idea behind Farmsnation Inc. came to Varun Rastogi while he was working as a banker at HSBC. The comfortable corporate life didn’t cut it for him. He wanted more. He quit his job in 2018 to pursue a dairy farm business with his brother, Tarun Rastogi. The business quickly took form and continued to grow to 60 cattle until the pandemic hit the world. When 2020 and the lockdown struck, the Rastogi brothers were able to connect with the farmers and understand their challenges. They realized how farmers have limited tools and education when it comes to selling their produce. The existing options available to farmers like Indiamart were not tailored to farmer’s requirements and provided an unsatisfactory consumer shopping experience. The duo then joined hands with Pulkit Rastogi & Shorya Rastogi to build the technology in the form of a website and mobile app, that would provide an efficient and transparent online market for farm produce.
The Rastogi brothers revealed that Farmsnation already has served 14000 customers so far and has 10,000+ app downloads on Google Play Store. “Beyond just being an online farmers market, we have the vision to empower farmers and customers with quality, purity, and transparency as our core values. We are happy to be part of this food revolution of bringing quality produce to our consumers. We truly believe consumers should be able to make informed decisions about the food they eat by knowing who they are buying from- the farmer, their farm, their story. Currently, the app has already touched the lives of 5000 farmers by verifying them and giving them e-commerce features to add products, farm pictures, receive payments and manage orders. We want to help increase farmer profits by providing sales education and e-commerce tools to farmers.“ said Varun Rastogi.
The startup has received a great response through daily registrations from farmers, looking to sell their produce on the app. One of the farmers, Bhagwan Das, said, “I’ve been growing my vegetables for almost 10 years now at my farm in Punjab. We used to face so many challenges which Farmsnation is now helping us with. We often had to throw away our produce as we struggled with finding enough buyers. If we grew organic vegetables, the retailer would often offer us the same price as normal vegetables. There was no point in growing high-quality produce. Farmsnation has helped us understand the sales tools and find buyers so that we get a fair price and there is no food wastage.”
Farmsnation is currently available on the website, ios, and android app and has already received funding from PV Venture, a US-based VC firm. One of the key investors is Ajay Yadav, who was also the founder of Roomie. The funds will help Farmsnation to further leverage technology to come to the rescue of farmers and their daily struggles.