The start-up developed an online marketplace, a collaborative platform Farmer.Live, where the stakeholders in the agri supply chain — from grower/seller to buyer/ dealer, Farmer Producer Organisation (FPOs) can register for free.
“This platform facilitates the farmer to sell his produce without any intervention by middlemen. We have over 10,000 registered farmers and buyers on this platform, over one-lakh Facebook followers, 20,000+ mobile app downloads and 100+ companies registered till date. The hit rate on our website is over 10,000 a month, notwithstanding App visitors,” Govindan said.
Every registered farmer gets to access information such as best practices, daily market price, weather forecast, warehouse facilities and so on. Such information is sent to their registered mobile number or if the farmer has a smartphone, the same is shared as a notification, said the Managing Director of Tara Blooms.
Balamurali Govindan, a software engineer, After spending almost 11 years in the US, came back to his home town to pursue his interest in agriculture.
“I bought four acres of agricultural land at Devarayapuram near Thondamuthur and went ahead with cultivation of coriander. Sadly, during the time of harvest, I found that the price of fresh produce touched rock-bottom levels and I was unable to realize my cultivation cost. I tried tomato and there too, I failed miserably. This made me think that if technology and IT intervention could bring in a sea change in other sectors, why not try it to solve farmers’ issues? I wanted to address the concerns on the supply chain front. Thus was born Tara Blooms Private Ltd. I wanted to establish a direct connect between the farmer and the buyer.”
Babu Shanmugam, a registered farmer on Farmer.Live, that he deals with herbal products and red coconut. Shanmugam is a management graduate who took to farming.
“Until two months back, I was only relying on the local market. Since registering on this platform, I have started getting enquiries from buyers in Gujarat and other places,” he said.
While Tara has limited the registration to the farmers in Tamil Nadu, Govindan said that he is looking to extend it to farmers in other States in a phased manner. “We will be introducing it to the farmers in Karnataka soon,” he said
He conceded that the challenge was in connecting to farmers and not building the application.
“We have initiated measures to provide information in 13 languages. Exporters too have registered on this platform,” he said.
Govindan says he has invested around ₹1.5 crore in this venture, engaged a team of 25 young agri graduates to keep the platform live and going.
Asked about returns on investment, he said, “Agri-Companies.Live is a portal that connects companies dealing in agriculture inputs, dealers, shops and so on. Registration is based on membership plans. This portal helps farmers to find and connect to the agri-company of their choice, source their input.”