‘Save the Farmer’ project door-delivers 22 MT produce

‘Save the Farmer’ project door-delivers 22 MT of fresh farm produce

Smartly connect 2,500 residents of a gated community in dire need of fresh fruits and vegetables with farmers frantically looking for buyers. Connecting the dots smartly, a unique ‘Save the Farmer’ project helped the direct purchase of 22 metric tonnes of fresh farm produce, with half of it being donated to the needy.

Triggered by the COVID-19 lockdown, procuring fresh fruits and vegetables had posed a huge logistical challenge for the residents of Adarsh Palm Retreat (APR) near Bellandur. That was when resident volunteers Sharmila Martis, Padma Kuchibhotla, Surekha Podduturi and Sadhana Surekha came up with a win-win idea for both the farmers and the residents.

The dynamics of the direct purchase meant they would purchase the farm produce, delivered at the gate, often at 30% to 50% of the market value. The residents would buy double the quantity they actually require, but donate 50% of it to the needy.

However, as Sharmila recalls, the system had to initially tide over the exacting demands of the community. Spot sales were out, which meant door-to-door delivery with social-distancing as the norm. Preorders, farmer arrival and harvest-to-produce in 24 hours all had to be factored in.

The entire supply chain of ordering, buying, paying, tracking and donating had to be integrated on a single platform. “This was done virtually by leveraging and integrating available technology like WhatsApp groups, Google sheets, e-Wallets and finally integrating it with MyBy-a mobile app,” explains Sharmila.

The app helps small businesses and large residential complexes in the procurement process while keeping the payments digital.

“The core team ensured social distancing at all times and also took help from other volunteers to weigh, pack and undertake the door-to-door delivery of the supplies.”

Within a few days of the project’s launch, the community graduated entirely from Google Sheets to MyBy. “This way, large quantities of the farm produce were ordered and donated to the needy, including hot meal initiatives such as Akshay Patra, orphanages, labour sheds and migrants.”

The community now sources tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, pineapples, oranges and a variety of fresh produce from farmers in Kolar and other districts. Over time, the team enlisted multiple farmers by taking references from social media, residents and establishing direct contacts.

As Sharmila informs, “This helped us create a small aggregation capability and eliminate traders.”

The project has so far distributed food material to 160 migrant shed families, 60 families in Kasavanahalli, 325 in Munnekollala, 200 in Doddakannelli, 125 families through an NGO and 150 domestic help workers.