Agri-tech startup Harvesting has launched HFNMandi.com to help Indian farmers directly market and sell their agri-products to wholesale buyers.
HFN Mandi is a free online service for farmers to connect and transact with genuine buyers across India and internationally, the startup said in a release.
This journey of providing market linkage to farmers started less than a year ago when Founder and CEO of Harvesting, Ruchit Garg, started a Twitter account @HarvestingFN to help distressed farmers across the country sell their crops during strict COVID lockdown.
Within days of the launch, @harvestingfn logged close to 15,000 followers as they started sharing key details like name, type and quantity of the product, and location/phone number for the buyers to call the farmers directly to purchase their harvest.
Harvesting India Pvt Ltd was founded in 2018 by Ruchit Garg, to drive financial inclusion for smallholder farmers. Ruchit has worked with the likes of Microsoft and has come from the USA to work for smallholder farmers in India.
In the last 10 months, Harvesting has worked with farmers across India and listed over $23 million worth of agri-produce on the platform.
Farmers can just send WhatsApp messages to the HFN team, whose technology then broadcasts supply information to buyers over social media platforms like Twitter. The entire process is simple and in less than a year, Harvesting has attracted over 23 lakh farmers from 22 states, the startup added.
Several government agencies, non-profit organisations, farmer groups, and individual farmers have been engaged with HFN. Over 200 commodities got listed on the platform, bought by wholesale buyers such as food processing companies, five-star chains, F&B restaurants and food exporters.
Even after the relaxations in lockdown, the popularity of Harvesting Farmer Network continued to grow, given buyers were able to transparently buy quality produce directly from farmers and farmers were able to access much larger markets.
Harvesting Founder and CEO Ruchit Garg said “Farmers as far as from Meghalaya are now able to export their crops to countries like South Africa because they listed products on our platform.”
Prices are decided by the farmers and orders are fulfilled by farmers themselves. For buyers, it provides not only access to the largest selection of crops under a single roof at attractive prices, but also provides a seamless experience of purchasing agri-produce in wholesale including the booking of transportation, quality check on the ground, legal contract, escrow of funds etc.
“Farmers in India are increasingly getting tech-savvy and have exposure to the wider world and our platform provides them an alternative channel to sell their produce. Indian agriculture is sitting at the inflection point right now, and we strongly believe that technology-driven solutions can enable farmers to realise their full potential” added Garg.