You can never change the life of a farmer.
Well that’s what everyone thinks. We only gasp reading the news of a farmer who committed suicide near your city and the next moment we are back to chatting up on WhatsApp or Facebook about the new restaurant that opened or the new iPhone that was launched.
How many of us really do something For the Farmers ? But yes, eventually I did do something 🙂
Born into a family business the words “You are born with a silver spoon” are not tough to come by from everyone you introduce yourself to. Its not wrong to say that joining the family business was an obvious choice for me while friends went for interviews and so I took the plunge into business at 20, just after Graduation. Though that lasted for 1 year exactly till I convinced myself that I need to learn how business is run and done professionally and pursued myself into an MBA.
Once back into the business full-time the one thing that kept me going (and still keeps me awake) was my urge to do something For The Farmers. Questions kept coming back to me
“How do I stop these suicides, How can I help Farmers make more money?, How do I reach out to them directly ? Can organic food be grown sustainably?”.
We have been manufacturing fertilizers since 1979 and haven been suppliers to many leading brands of India who just repack and sell at 4 to 5x times the price at which we sell to them. They justify it by their spending on people, advertisements, training, seminars, dealer meets etc – but is all of that required ? Some of it yes, some of it is just gimmickery after all.
This made me start our retail operations in 2011 in Nashik and Sangli. We used the conventional way that Agri-input retail was done typically with a huge range of products, having a lavish team hired from MNCs, a big marketing spend and appointing C&F, distributors, dealers, retailers etc to ultimately reach the farmer.
We kept our product pricing low in comparison to our competitors but then the “middle-men” had a party and
our Business Model changed nothing For the farmers.
Two years into retail in 2013, we saw a trend – we used to sell on a 12 month credit to the middle-men while the farmer paid them in cash, over the counter. Does it sound fishy ? It definitely sounded to me 🙂
The turning point for me was when a farmer in Nashik tells me why do you want retailers to sell to us,
yeh dukaandar kyon chahiye ?
just find a way to deliver products efficiently, build an app so I can order and pay online. He said the most important words that day –
if you want your business to succeed, do good for the farmers, change their lives, then you have to build a business that’s For the Farmers, you have to be With the Farmers and the only way you can do this is by being selling Direct to Farmers.
I decided we need to change how we do business because it was not making any sense to me or to our ultimate beneficiary – The Farmer. More so, it did not answer my nightmare question “How do I stop these suicides, How can I help Farmers make more money?, How do I reach out to them directly ? Can organic food be grown sustainably?”.
That’s when we started talking to farmers about their needs, their payment cycle, their expectations from a model that would be called “Direct 2 Farmer”. We got a phenomenal response, I became a Door-2-Door salesman, carrying material in my car, delivering to each individual farmer and guess what – they paid me upfront. And why wouldn’t they ?
Farmer were saving at least 30% compared to buying my products from a retail shop nearby.
We hired guys to eventually run this door-delivery model and 2 years down the line we setup our e-commerce platform “Direct2Farmer.com” for convenience, transparency, understanding, ease of doing business For the Farmers, to be With the Farmers and more than anything being – Direct 2 Farmers.
We sell over 300+ products, from 100ml to several thousand litres and ship from Kashmir to Kanyakumari covering over 20,000 pin-codes.
Although we offer Conventional products of all types for mainline farming, we are focussed on “Regenerative Agriculture”.
We offer Knowledge, Strategies, Services and Products to scale up this type of farming and ultimately make Regenerative Farming as Mainline.
‘Regenerative Agriculture’ is opposite of Conventional one.
Good for the Soils,
Good for the People,
Good for the Planet,
Good for the Farmer.
We are talking about Farming that’s Good for Everyone…!
We will continue to build this portfolio in our endeavours to reach out to the 140+ million farmers of India and make them all “Regenerative Farmers”.
For the Farmers, With the Farmers, Direct 2 Farmers
Twitter : @purvishdiwanji
Instagram : purvishdiwanji
Blog : direct2farmer.com/blog