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Maharashtra farmers ring in cash riding on engineer’s e-commerce platform

The Indian Farmers Entrepreneurs Store started by an engineer from Maharashtra has enabled farmers to sell their products directly to end consumers

Moved by the exploitation of farmers by the middlemen while selling their products, an engineering graduate from Satara in Maharashtra has taken up their cause. Aniket Gharge, is now helming an e-commerce platform – Indian Farmers Entrepreneurs Store — dedicated to enable farmers sell their products directly to the buyers without any interference from others.

The 28-year-old engineer has a natural affinity to the farmers as he hails from a family of agriculturists in Vadgaon, Satara. Farmers and their stories have always interested him and that is how he was drawn to create a YouTube channel which has been documenting stories of farmers and their entrepreneurship from December 2017 onwards.

It was during filming these stories did Gharge realise the difficulties of farmers. They were unable to reach the right markets and their value-added products did not fetch the correct price in the local marketplace.

He pinned down the issue to lack of a platform where the growers could contact the end user and consumer directly. That is how IFES, a unique platform, came into being. It was started on March 1, 2022 by Gharge along with his friend Jay SIdhpura. Within the next seven months, the platform was up and running.

According to Gharge, other e-commerce platforms don’t give farmers the right price as they are generally run by middlemen. In the case of IFES there is a direct interface between the growers and consumers.

Currently, there are 15 farmers on board whose products are being sold on IFES. Their products include 100 per cent natural honey in different flavours like ajwain, jamun, neem and tulsi; unpolished millets and a variety of millet products like noodles, flakes, vermicelli, rawa and laddoos; rose syrup; gulkand; desi ghee; chicken pickles; and goat mutton pickles among other.

Local couriers and Indian Post have been roped in to deliver the goods. While IFES has a warehouse in Satara, the farmers at times can send their products directly also.