Team “Mera Kisan – Online Grocery Shopping Store of buying fresh produce directly from our farmers” shares their incredible startup story in an interview with us.
Q.Please Introduce yourself
Merakisan.com is a new means of buying fresh produce directly from our farmers. We source, examine and deliver locally farmed products. Our online shop ensures direct engagement between our farmers and consumers, this enables our farmers to cash in maximum returns, and also allows our consumers to get the best at an economical price. Most of our profits are derived by avoiding the street smart middlemen.
Q.When and Where did you think about MeraKisan?
In Nov 2014, Prashanth Patil (founder) had gone to Sydney, Australia to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to Indian diaspora, during his address our PM urged the audience to contribute and participate in developing India. This appeal by our PM and Prashanth’s close family ties with the farming community were the key ingredients in inspiring him to do something for the benefit of the Indian farmers. Whilst living overseas, he organized a team in India to work on the development of Merakisan.com. Under his guidance and the team support, the website development gained momentum and during a Krishi- Mela (Agri Exhibition) in Nashik, Maharashtra; Merakisan.com was first introduced to the general public on 19th December 2014.
Q. Introduce your Co-Founder and Team.
Merakisan.com was founded by Prashanth Patil while he was working as an IT business consultant in Melbourne, Australia. Prashanth inducted 9 team players to our formation, these team members have all contributed to the success of Merakisan.com.
Merakisan.com team is strategically setup with the mix of youth and experience. We are proud to have employed recent university graduates, farmers, qualified business operators and drivers. Whilst the employee list remains limited, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce our team members:-
Mayuri Jadhav, Irfan Khan, Rekha Jadhav, Revati Shinde, Amar Pawar, Abhilasha Jadhav, Madhuri Jadhav and Sudhakar Patil.
Q. Explain more about your MeraKisan, what makes you special and how is it different?
Merakisan.com is very unique in its own league of online shopping platforms. In addition to procuring and delivering fresh farms produce for profit, we at Merakisan.com offer SMS integration feature for a social cause. This allows consumers to share contacts with their preferred farmers and delivery can be directly arranged upon agreement between both parties.
Moreover, Merakisan.com maintains and reports accurate crop and yield information from our registered farmers to buyers. This data acts as a business enabler, allowing businesses or buyers to plan their crop purchase accordingly.
Q. What’s the Current Path and Future plan?
Merakisan.com first started the delivery of local farm products in August, 2015. Currently, we operate our delivery services once every week in Pune and Navi Mumbai. From the time we started delivering, we have delivered approximately Rs. 22, Lacs worth of quality produce to our consumers. Interestingly, we have observed that consumers have saved from somewhere around 9% to 14% on their purchase. On the other hand, farmers have received a fair share for their efforts and are now getting 15% to 32% more than what they used to get. Most importantly, big organizations like Bigbazar and Mahindra India have started to procure farm produce through us.
With an inclination towards expansion, future looks challenging but promising for us. We plan to operate local farm produce deliveries in Belgaum, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Aurangabad by Oct, 2016. Also, we are working on intuitively presenting consumer purchase data to our farmers, this will help farmers plant their cash crops accordingly.
Q. What challenges did you face while setting up MeraKisan and How did you overcome ?
It was not a very smooth ride to start with, we faced innumerable challenges. The plan of building one stop shop to facilitate procurement, inspection, and delivery of local farm products was a marathon in itself. Educating farmers about Merakisan.com, selecting initial products from a vast range of products, maintaining quality of fresh produce and ensuring timely product delivery; were some of the keys challenges faced by Merakisan.com team.
We organized sessions in local villages to educate farmers about Merakisan.com. Also, helped them with online registration and kept farmers up to date with the latest consumer demands through SMS campaigns. To select products for marketing and delivery, we relied on customer feedbacks and primarily focused on procuring seasonal produce. Maintenance of quality standards is essential for our business and to safeguard them, we regularly invite farmers to visit local collection warehouses and educate them on farm produce handling and hygiene standards. Additionally, we have a strict quality check process in our warehouses where sorting and grading of fresh produce is performed with utmost care. Lastly, to sort out initial delivery issues, we methodically planned and identified delivery locations and routes. Also, a comprehensive study was performed to prepare a delivery privatization plan to cap deliveries and avoid customer complaints.
Some of the key learnings from our project so far, tells us that every difficult situation offers a very distinct and equally tough problem. However, if we address a big problem by breaking the key aspects of the problem into unique small features, and address them individually then we can resolve the bigger problem more successfully and accurately.
At the end, MeraKisan team shared these kind words about VID
MeraKisan.com really appreciates VID for acknowledging and giving us the opportunity to share our experiences to the World Wide Web. We believe that VID plays an important role in promoting and motivating the emerging Indian entrepreneurs of the near future. Once again we thank VID for their efforts and wish them best of luck for their future endeavors.