In Pune, start-ups like Farmpal have opened new collection centres to help growers deliver fresh produce easily by connecting growers to their markets and cutting off the middlemen.
Going back for one moment: India grew more grain in 2017 than ever before and the government’s agriculture budget rose 111 per cent over four years to 2017-18. However, prices crashed, unpaid agricultural loans grew 20 per cent and 600 million Indians, who depend on farming, struggled to get by. Growers get a fraction of the money for their produce; about 80 per cent is pocketed by middlemen who control agri-trade in India.
Now, Farmpal has established a connection with more than 1000 growers, of which 400 actively supply their crops to them. They provide a sale price that is at a 15-30 per cent premium over what the growers receive in mandis, where they sell to middlemen according to the prevailing market price.
It pays the growers through online bank transfers, or in a few special cases, in cash on delivery. Besides, the growers have a choice of selling their produce at their doorsteps and not facing exploitation at the hands of mandi traders. Eventually, the growers will receive weekly pricing for their produce on their mobile phones, as well as price comparison between what Farmpal pays them and the prevailing market rate, in their bid to infuse more transparency in the Agri ecosystem.
Farmpal collection centres, which are within a 3-5km radius of the growers they work with, ensure they are informed about the quality and quantity of the products we are looking at procuring. The information helps growers to plan their sowing, harvest and delivery cycles. Our team helps growers with marginal landholdings to diversify their products and reduce their dependence on high-risk crops.