Most city-dwellers today are struggling with the challenge of finding pure fruits and vegetables in their area. The range of options from local mandis to online delivery apps to grocery stores place little emphasis on quality and purity. Quality produce, when available, often comes at exorbitantly high prices for daily consumption. New-age agritech startup, Farmsnation, set out on a mission to change the way consumers are buying fruits and vegetables.
At Farmsnation, the team truly believes every family deserves to eat fresh and have information on the source of the food they are consuming. With this thought in mind, the idea of Farmsnation was born – a website and mobile app that helps consumers discover local farmers in their area and buy directly from them. The Farmsnation app currently allows consumers to buy fresh groceries – vegetables, fruits, dairy, herbs, and more from farmers in their city. As a consumer, the app allows you to know the name of your farmer, his values, and how he produces the food. With a strong focus on quality of food, the platform also verifies farmers and suppliers to ensure good farming practices. The founders claim 100% transparency and that anything less than pure and hygienic is non-existent on Farmsnation. Farmsnation’s prices are quite competitive because while farmers are free to set their own prices, farmers compete with each other for getting orders. This helps maintain fair pricing, a win-win situation for both consumers and farmers.
We spoke to the founders at Farmsnation about how the venture came into light. Varun Rastogi was working as a banker at HSBC when the idea to open a dairy farm came to his mind. He quit his job in 2018 to pursue the dairy business with his brother, TarunRastogi. The duo dived right in and grew the farm to 60 cattle until the pandemic hit the world in 2020. As the world went into lockdown, they quickly realized that the one community hit the worst were the farmers. They connected with the farmers to understand the root cause of their distress. What they identified was that due to limited tools and sales education, farmers were at the mercy of the middlemen. They were unable to reach the end consumer directly and the middlemen were buying their produce at rock-bottom prices. This farm produce was being sold to mandis with a high markup by the middlemen and further resellers and grocery stores again kept their markup, selling to the end consumer at almost 10X of the original prices. Farmers were suffering as part of fractured food production and delivery system, designed to be neither in their favor nor the consumers’.
It wasn’t just about the pricing but they also had a revelation on why consumers were having to settle with low-quality groceries. “We spoke to many farmers, about their farming practices, to understand what makes them throw harmful chemicals in their fields, give hormone injections to their cattle, and treat animals inhumanely. We even met farmers who harvest vegetables and fruits separately for their families and customers. What they sell is NOT what they eat. It wasn’t that the farmers did not want to grow high-quality fruits and vegetables. But even if they did, they were not getting a fair price or the right customers for it.” said Tarun Rastogi.
As the two partners realized the gap, they got the idea to create an online marketplace for farmers or as they put it, ‘an Airbnb for farmers’. They joined hands with the other two co-founders, Pulkit & Shorya 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 app has successfully served 14000 customers so far and has 10,000+ app downloads on Google Play Store. The startup has also received a great response through daily registrations from farmers, looking to sell their produce on the app.
“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 wanted to solve the challenge of farmers not being able to get the right value for their produce. We are happy to be part of this food revolution of bringing quality produce to our consumers. We truly believe consumers shouldn’t have to compromise on the quality and purity of their daily grocery supplies. Currently, the app has already helped farmers access new customers and grow their earnings by giving them e-commerce features to add products, farm pictures, receive payments and manage orders. We want to create meaningful and long-term benefits for farmers by providing them sales education and e-commerce tools“ said Varun Rastogi.
Farmsnation is currently available as a website, ios, and android app and has already received funding from PV Venture, a US-based VC firm. The funds are being used to leverage technology to come to the rescue of farmers and their daily struggles.