From Economic Survey of India by Finance Ministry (GOI) to many eminent speakers, we have read and heard the need to support the farmers and stop them to migrate from rural to urban areas. While many talked about it, Mr Vilas Shinde MD-Sahyadri Farms decided to do something about it thus ‘Sahyadri Farmers Producers Company Limited’ or just ‘Sahyadri Farms’ as it’s widely known was born in the year 2010. Since inception Mr Vilas Shinde worked with a focused approach that Sahyadri Farms will ensure a sustainable model of farming to small-landholding farmers while also providing safe and quality food to the customers; today Sahyadri Farms is a role model of Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) and Mr Shinde himself has become an inspiration for budding entrepreneurs across India
For our series “David and Goliath” an idea to know how companies are restructuring themselves to be David 2.0 to address Covid-19 we feel Mr Vilas Shinde and his team at Sahyadri farms are putting up as an exemplary model of David2.0. Knowing how Mr Vilas Shinde and his team are ensuring success for 8000 plus farmers through Sahyadri farms in the times of Covid-19 is amazing.
- What is the major challenge for an FPO?
Ans: India is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables, but only 1% of the market is organised. This market is trader dominated, infrastructure is weak while large corporates have created their value chain, but same is not the scenario with agriculture industry. We were clear from the first day that we need to focus on the supply chain we worked hard to ensure that our farmers receive fair equity for their produce by building our entire effort around the values of Trust and Transparency.
- How do you ensure a robust supply chain?
Ans: We have invested heavily in supply chain at Sahyadri Farms, we have built world-class infrastructure and processing facilities that ensure we can work on a sufficiently large scale which is beneficial to both farmers and our consumers. We are one of the largest exporters of fruits and vegetables so the robust supply chain is the need of the hour. We are the first FPO to implement block chain that ensures traceability and trust for our customers; moreover, we focus on latest technologies to support us.
Post-harvest management information and allied processes are structured from farm level to the end customer.
We have created excellent temperature controlled storage space within our premises, we own a large fleet for mid mile deliveries and for last mile delivery we have tie ups with local vendors.
- What were the COVID-19 effects on domestic markets and exports?
Ans: During lockdown the exports were withheld but we focussed on the local market and we could deliver up to 3000 baskets per day of fruits & vegetables comfortably to domestic markets in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, again a good supply chain network saved the day.
In the initial days of lockdown when exports were nil, the product prices fell but gradually we could resume the exports and during lockdown we were able to export 300 containers of fruits and vegetables. Now we are exporting 100 containers weekly and we are set to reach our previous milestone of 700 containers weekly very soon. Be it juggling in the domestic market or optimising the export market a strong supply chain comes handy.
India has a large domestic market and Sahyadri is known brand for quality, Sahyadri today plans to setup its own retail shops in the nearby cities addressing B2C market. For B2B, Sahyadri farm is focusing on metro cities, creating its own distribution network while outsourcing logistics. Mr Vilas Shinde is one person who believes in taking ownership of the task in hand, and he wants the farmers to handle daily operations with due diligence expecting support from government only on policy matters; indeed a thoughtful leader.