Meet India’s inspiring farmers who pivot, adapt and keep supplying fresh produce during the lockdowns

Diversified deliveries

Kiaro Foods, Hyderabad

Of late, Sharath Reddy Gattu has been dwelling at a makeshift lodging arrange for his employees to keep up hygiene and keep away from contamination. His Hyderabad-based enterprise, Kiaro Foods, which began as a dairy manufacturing and supply model, remodelled itself right into a ‘farm-to-home’ service, inside per week of the lockdown. The app-based model has been capable of provide seasonal greens and fruits, together with much-coveted mangoes during the lockdown.

Kiaro Farms’ setups for bringing fresh produce to completely different elements of Hyderabad  
| Photo Credit:
Kiaro Foods

Sharath shares, “Letting good produce that wasn’t going out of Telangana rot seemed like not only a waste but also meant we weren’t utilising our existing logistics the right way. After much thought we redesigned our app and introduced same-day harvested vegetables.” The re-branding train was pushed by the want to assist farmers, in order that their laborious work and produce wouldn’t go waste. In the course of, ledgers and accounts have gone for a toss, as they focussed on sourcing and logistics as the lockdown got here as a bolt from the blue.

A young woman with her selection of fresh produce and baked goods from Kiaro Foods, Hyderabad

A younger lady along with her collection of fresh produce and baked items from Kiaro Foods, Hyderabad
| Photo Credit:
Kiaro Foods

Sharath says, “At first, we sourced and sold produce without grading; we are not very proud about that. However, we learnt from our mistakes and reworked the system and started grading the vegetables and fruits. Then we sourced eggs from an exporter and started selling them through the app. Soon we realised there was a huge demand for bread, wheat, fruits. We literally rebuilt ourselves on the basis of demand. Our motive was to make sure people get what they need. The breads we supply are from an upscale confectionery that’s known for its desserts; the wheat is also from an exporter who had a big amount of fresh wheat that couldn’t be exported due to lockdown.”

Prabalika M Borah

Hobby turns into want

The Prodigal Farms, Noida

Meet India’s inspiring farmers who pivot, adapt and keep supplying fresh produce during the lockdowns

Puneet Tyagi and Neha Bhatia began farming as a pastime 4 years in the past, and quickly turned it right into a enterprise, first with farm-to-fork weekend experiences and zero-waste workshops, and now with residence supply of their produce that is freed from inorganic components. “We have six farmers working with us, four of whom are women. Their husbands lost their jobs, and so came to the farm; we were able to employ them to deliver the produce,” says Puneet. He says the greens are harvested and packed into packing containers by the farmers and they’d be loaded and delivered by one other set of individuals, making certain minimal dealing with.

Initially, they wanted to realign deliveries solely to Noida, however have now labored out a system of delivering throughout Delhi-NCR ( Because orders had drastically lowered, and that they had a whole lot of produce, they started making residence processed meals like pickle, which individuals can order. Puneet says the lockdown has helped carry the farmers in the neighbourhood collectively and many have proven an curiosity in halting the use of synthetic pesticide and fertilizer.

Sunalini Mathew

Farm platform

Krishi Cress, Chattarpur and Faridabad

Meet India’s inspiring farmers who pivot, adapt and keep supplying fresh produce during the lockdowns

Achintya Anand, a chef and first-generation farmer, started 5 years in the past, by supplying produce to eating places and accommodations. The lockdown noticed demand from the hospitality sector dip to virtually nothing.

Within per week or so of operation, the web site,, which had been prepared, went up for home-delivery orders. “We had been trying it out for a year, but we had a small presence,” says Achintya. Now, orders have doubled, however the price of logistics poses a problem. Also, there are two farms, in Chattarpur and Faridabad, so coordinating transportation has not been simple. Another problem has been sustaining hygiene protocols and implementing modifications in a single day.

“We are very lucky because a lot of our staff stay at the farm, so there’s minimal contact from the outside; the rest all live close by. Also, as we are located in a remote area, we had started a pick-up and drop facility before the first lockdown,” he says.

What stays fashionable are his salad and microgreens, in addition to the value-adds like kombucha and pink pepper chilli jam, whether or not for households or eating places, a few of which have begun delivery-based kitchens. He’s obtained orders from just a few as a result of, “People are extremely conscious of what is going into their food now.” While demand is rising, they’re managing with present capability: “It’s difficult to build capacity at this time,” says Achintya.

Meet India’s inspiring farmers who pivot, adapt and keep supplying fresh produce during the lockdowns

He sees the lockdown as a possibility to advertise agri-businesses that develop crops freed from chemical residue, and push for brand new hygiene-driven protocols and practices. Eventually, he wish to see farmers band collectively right into a cooperative and arrange a platform the place the produce goes from farm to desk. “The focus needs to be on post-harvest handling. We produce fruit and vegetables as good as any in the world, as long as they’re on the tree or plant. It’s what happens after: the storage, the cold chain maintenance. As for the future: “I don’t want to take any calls for the future. Even the chefs don’t know when their restaurants will be up and running.”

Sunalini Mathew

For a good deal

HFPA, Bengaluru

Meet India’s inspiring farmers who pivot, adapt and keep supplying fresh produce during the lockdowns

The son of agriculturist Shekhappa, Jagadish Sunagad owns 15 acres of land at Baluti close to Bijapur. His entrepreneurial abilities have helped hundreds of farmers in North Karnataka. “I cannot get over the onion and watermelon losses this season,” says Jagadish. “I have an MBA, and being a farmer myself, I understand the farmers’ need to reach their produce to the right quarters. They need guidance in growing and getting the right subsidies.”

Jagadish, CEO of Basavana Bagewadi Horticulture Farmer Producer Company (HFPA) in Kolhar taluk of Bijapur district, has launched 9 movies on social media to assist farmers. “We have 1,000 farmers from 22 villages in the North Karnataka belt in HFPA. Karnataka has nearly 100 Farmer Producer Organisations with about 1,000 farmers, who swung into action to help crops reach consumers. I worked from Kolhar taluk to minimise losses for onion, watermelon, banana and maize.” Jagadish organized for almost 100 tonnes of greens and fruits to succeed in cities each week.

“Transportation and labour were herculean tasks, but we saw to it that losses were restricted to about 50%. I roped in my family too; they accompanied the trucks. A farmer associate, Girish Telage, had six truckloads of watermelon worth ₹96,000. In Shivajinagar, he was offered ₹30,000. I intervened and re-routed the trucks to Yeshwantpur, Goraguntepalya, Peenya and Rajajinagar markets and got him a ₹20,000 profit.”

Meet India’s inspiring farmers who pivot, adapt and keep supplying fresh produce during the lockdowns

The finest deal, based on Jagadish, was the direct FPO-to-FPO trade programme, the place greens and fruits have been bartered relying on necessities from farmers in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. “Onions (500 tonnes), watermelon (400 tonnes) and 200 tonnes of potato did not go waste, thanks to this arrangement, although pricing was heavily compromised.”

Ranjani Govind

Cultural redemption

Solitude Farm, Auroville

Why are we consuming cabbage, broccoli, and beetroot and no more sundakkai (turkey berry), vazhapoo (banana blossoms), and karunai kizhangu (yam)? This is amongst the many questions Aurovillian farmer Krishna McKenzie desires us to ask ourselves. According to him, the pandemic and ensuing lockdown has been a “catalyst” in making us perceive {that a} centralised system is just not the most sensible, or environment friendly reply our meals wants. Deprived of greens when the present meals provide system faltered, he says that folks “are now waking up to local farming and local distribution”.

Krishna Mckenzie

Krishna Mckenzie  
| Photo Credit: spl

The 47-year-old Englishman, by way of his Solitude Farm in Auroville, has been at the forefront of what he calls a “cultural redemption” by reminding folks of their conventional data, significantly of meals and the politics that surrounds it. He has been on his ft during lockdown, organising kitchen gardens, in addition to freely giving keerai cuttings, saplings, and seeds to these on the lookout for methods to start out their very own vegetable patch.

“More and extra persons are connecting with me now; simply yesterday, somebody got here to take residence murungai keerai (moringa) and vazhathandu (banana stem) cuttings,” he says, including that there was a rise in the variety of natural meals baskets he sends out to Auroville and Puducherry. “I have been helping people at their gardens, many of them are now thinking about growing their own food. They now have more time than they usually would.” Krishna factors out that folks in his neighbourhood are coming collectively to share their produce.

Krishna has been posting movies on social media on find out how to higher make use of city areas for vegetable gardening, in addition to find out how to cook dinner native greens. He says, “This pandemic has been a wake-up call; it has shown us that the need for food is the common adhesive in the system; that food is one.”

Akila Kannadasan

Seeds of hope

Swadeshi Karshika Vipani, Thiruvananthapuram

The weekly agro bazaar in Thiruvananthapuram, Swadeshi Karshika Vipani, sells produce procured from natural farmers throughout the district. The most produce for this comes from Perumkadavila in Neyyattinkara, on the outskirts of the metropolis. The closure of the market resulting from lockdown meant there was no avenue to promote the produce for these farmers.

V Sreekumaran Nair, president of Thiruvananthapuram Karshaka Koottayma

V Sreekumaran Nair, president of Thiruvananthapuram Karshaka Koottayma  
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

That is when V Sreekumaran Nair, president of the Facebook group Thiruvananthapuram Karshaka Koottayma, which is considered one of the driving forces behind this agri market, got here up with an answer. He took orders by way of WhatsApp, collected produce from 14 farmers in the space and home-delivered the greens and fruits to common clients in two autorickshaws.

Produce from Sreekumaran Nair’s farm kept for sale

“Four of us coordinated the supply. We have nearly 100 regular customers and could deliver the produce to about 40 of them. We did that until lockdown restrictions were made strict. After that, we started selling produce through an eco-shop with the support of the regional agricultural office and Panchayat officials. Now the produce gets sold at our farms itself,” says Sreekumaran, who cultivates on over 2.5 acres. In addition, he has given away seeds and saplings totally free.

“I have distributed them to 214 households and 80% of them are taking up farming for the first time. Since many of them are taking baby steps, I have distributed seeds of tomato, lady’s finger, long beans, amaranthus, and brinjal that can be easily grown. Many came all the way from the city on two-wheelers to collect the seeds. There has been a renewed interest in farming and now many people seek help to set up kitchen/terrace gardens,” he says. “When I give away the seeds, I tell them that each has a life growing inside it and they have a responsibility to take care of it,” he provides.

Athira M

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