FarmLink: An Agri Start-up on a Mission to Transform India’s F&V Supply Chain

FarmLink| Ravish Chavan_ COO | Indian Business magazine
Ravish Chavan_ COO

India is one of the world’s largest producers of a variety of fruits and vegetables, with an ever-increasing demand for fresh produce. However, the farmers, as well as consumers, are suffering at multiple levels such as lack of knowledge of good agricultural practices and use of substandard inputs leading to lower yield and income for the farmers. Wastage across the supply chain due to inefficiencies in harvest, post-harvest and storage activities resulting in loss of quality and weight of produce for the farmers. Inaccessibility to off-take markets for the farmers. A long chain of intermediaries between farmers and consumers leading to lower prices and incomes for the farmers and higher prices for the end consumers.
Technology helping Farmers reduce Agri Wastage and get Better Pricing
FarmLink, an Indian fruit and vegetable (F&V) supply and chain company, aims to address these major gaps in the Indian agriculture space by fundamentally transforming and modernizing the critical parts of India’s F&V supply chain that would include strong elements of technology and digitization. The Mumbai based agri–startup ensures minimum wastage of the produce, higher incomes for the farmers and better quality & prices for the consumers by maintaining the shortest life cycle from production to consumption and by introducing global practices in agronomy. FarmLink is one of the four ventures incubated by Pioneering Ventures (PV), a venture development firm which incubates companies in agriculture space with an attempt to solve the issues faced by the sector and positively influence the lives of thousands of farmers in India.
FarmLink engages in establishing a strong and steady relationship with farmers, while providing extension services and knowledge that improve the productivity and quality of the produce. The company believes in transparency in the transaction with an assurance of timely payment within 48 hours. The company focuses on helping farmers in building viable businesses and becoming successful agricultural entrepreneurs thus creating an impact on the entire rural eco-system. The agri-startup intends to reduce agricultural wastage to less than 5 percent in comparison to the country’s average of 30 percent by streamlining the value chain. Majority of this saving translates into increased farmers’ earnings.
The Strongest Pillar
Ravish Chavan, COO of FarmLink, plays a key role in improving the company’s operational efficiency and bring in process discipline. Prior to his appointment as COO, Ravish was heading investor relations and transaction advisory at Pioneering Ventures – the company that incubated FarmLink. He holds an MBA in Finance and CFA and FRM charters.
Synchronizing Demand and Supply of Agricultural Produce
Since working with farmers involves a variety of crops and a typical vegetable basket consists of 20-25 SKU’s. The company ensures that it works on the right demand plan with the farmers in order to match the supply plan required by the customers. The company identifies progressive farmers based on their soil health, present farming practices and a willingness to learn, after which the expert team visit the farm to study the requirements and help the farmers get the best quality yield. The data is studied for every farmer to help them track their progress and push them to realize their potential. While the farm-to-fork activities are integrated, these complicated activities require FarmLink to work with farmers, provide procurement platforms for them and in turn modernize the whole supply chain.
At FarmLink’s collection center, when the farmers get their fresh produce, it goes through the firsthand quality check by the trained staff then only the finest fruits and vegetables are hand-picked and separated from the rest. Once the sorting is done, farmers get a receipt and the payment is credited directly to their account. The quality products undergo ozone water wash which removes surface mud, after which the products are taken to the dry area where excess water is removed making them ready to be packaged.   Once the goods are packaged, been weighed and tagged systematically, the goods are ready to be distributed. This whole batch process is completed by the afternoon time so that it reaches the retailer shelves by early mornings the next day as per the requirements, thereby shortening the supply cycle and reducing wastage.
FarmTrace – An app that Tracks Fruits and Vegetables for Consumers
FarmLink is beta-testing an app called FarmTrace that traces a product from the farm till it reaches the consumer. The app provides traceability and information to farmers, managers, as well as consumers, to know the location of the produce, where it was grown and the nutritional factors that made it. There are two kinds of applications, that are running simultaneously in the operations of the app. One is field application for internal purposes and the second application is for consumers. The customer application, on the other hand, has two functions: visibility of the complete product information and store locator to tell consumers where the products can be found.
In the field application, information is collated and punched in by internal staff in order to supervise their own efficiency. It also has details related to the farmers, season of seeds, economic aspects of crops and many more, and which are updated periodically. While the consumer application helps to check what certifications the product has cleared as well as the information about the farmer’s village and the plot that was used to grow it. They will know when it was sown and harvested, the incidence of pests, if any, and so on.
FarmLink is just not a link between the farmers and consumers but also empowers the farmers making them economically independent and improving the standard of living. It is the new approach for India’s agriculture sector, which not only provides quality food to the consumers but also transforms lives in rural India. The company firmly believe that only empowered farmers can lead to a healthier life of more than 1.3 billion people in the country.

Related Posts