Harvest the Farms- In our previous blogs, we told the story of how Ninjacart made deliveries to apartments, and to orphanages, slums and old-age homes in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The one invisible thread tying the two stories was our Supply Chain.
Our nation’s fragmented food supply chain is the largest employer in the world — 58% of India’s workforce is involved in Agriculture. With the imposition of the nationwide lockdown, in view of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, many small players in Indian supply chains were left hanging. As they say, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It holds true for Supply Chains as well. The weak link could emerge from anywhere, as there are so many moving parts, all equally important. As the lockdown commenced, multiple links began to break.
At Ninjacart, we have been building a supply chain that is robust. A supply chain that is founded on virtues of sustainability, collaboration, trust, transparency, visibility, and diversification of supply. The lockdowns were a test of the flexibility and durability of our supply networks across India. When the old multiparty supply chains broke, it left the farmer with no way to harvest, distribute and sell the produce.
Most of the Mandis were either closed or heavily restricted and the middlemen had either stopped operating due to uncertainty and risk or only operating locally. The waiting time for transport vehicles had increased dramatically, and there was the risk of contamination in the crowded market. Many cases of inability of the vendors to honour the buy-back guarantees were also cropping up. With no one to go to, the farmer would be forced to leave his crop unharvested and let it rot in the farm. It was not just about the financial loss, the agony of watching the fruits of your labour go to waste would be excruciating.
We couldn’t have sat by and watched.
We launched Harvest The Farms initiative
Under the Harvest The Farms (HTF) initiative, you could buy directly from the farmers at a cheaper price, while Ninjcart took care of the supply chain cost, so we could together feed the feeding hands- Harvest the Farms
How did this work?
- Ninjacart identified the vegetables that are in excessive supply and going unharvested in our farmer network.
- We then offered to buy these vegetables from farmers at a nominal price, where the farmer recovers the cost.
- We offered these vegetables to customers at a lower price to increase the demand, so the produce across farms is not left to rot.
- Since we were already shipping other products, these products could ride along at a very marginal cost in our supply chain.
We funded the supply chain costs for the ‘Harvest the Farms’ products.
We partnered with India’s leading delivery startups – Zomato, Swiggy, and Dunzo. Customers could go to our partners’ respective apps and search for the nearest Ninjacart powered stores*, view products on offer and place an order. The service was available across major Indian cities-Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Chennai.
We also launched a special line where people who knew a farmer struggling to sell the product could mail us the details or request a call back on a special helpline number.
Harvest The Farms initiative touched the lives of hundreds of farmers across the country. Farmers like Yatish, KR Lakshman and Nagaraju were able to recover their investments and thus pay their workers and continue farming. The transparency, speed, and smooth experience with Ninjacart mightily impressed them, and they’ve been happily working with us ever since.
Commenting on the success of the initiative, Ninjacart co-founder & CEO, Thiru said, “This would not be possible without the courage and support of our thousands of employees, drivers, labourers, volunteers, government officials & other supply chain partners. We stand deeply indebted to each and every Ninja out there for making this possible.”
You may also watch our case study on Harvest The Farms initiative on YouTube.