The distribution is being carried out under the Outgrow Programme, the company’s flagship programme for farmers. Some 15,000 small holding farmers across 5 states in India will benefit through this unique initiative. The dual-purpose PPE kits will help protect farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and also shield them during agricultural operations such as pesticide spraying. In-situ soil testing will enable farmers to get their soil health measured without having to travel, thus facilitating effective soil management while maintaining social distancing.
Outgrow is the company’s agricultural extension programme that engages with farmers through their entire cultivation cycle, from planning to inputs to harvesting, substantially increasing profitability of the farmer, reducing their risk, and guaranteeing farmers 270 days of steady income by leveraging a host of emerging technologies.
The company has been leading efforts to help the Indian farmer cope with the current crisis, through various channels. Most recently, the company had run a crowd funding campaign for PPE kits through Milaap. It had also driven an awareness campaign showcasing the efforts of the farmer and trucker (the invisible hands in the agricultural supply chain). The FMO grant helps the company build upon this effort.
Sendhil Kumar Natarajan, head, agri initiatives, WayCool Foods, commenting on the initiative said, “Farmers are essential service providers as they feed the nation. They are also very vulnerable during disruptive events such as the ongoing pandemic. Our measures have focussed on enabling the farmers earn their livelihood while reducing the risks they face. The FMO grant will help us in protecting a significantly larger number of farmers and we thank FMO for their timely support.”
FMO’s grant demonstrates their commitment to supporting communities that require India’s food and agriculture distribution sector.
Speaking about the initiative, Jaap Reinking, director, private equity, FMO, said, “We are proud to offer additional support during this period. India has experienced one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. These measures left little recourse for the country’s millions of farmers, particularly those in the poorest provinces, who were unable to get access to essentials and protective equipment. The initiative’s goal is to find affordable and reliable sources of PPE and ensure these are allocated where they are needed most. Additionally, this grant will be used to procure Soil Testing kits for farmers, which will ultimately improve their income and reduce wastage.”
The company procures, processes, and distributes a range of food products including fresh produce, staples, and dairy products, moving over 250 tonne of food every day to 11,000 clients across South India. The company operates a soil-to-sale model, engaging deeply with a base of 40,000 farmers in more than 50 regions across India, while bringing efficiency through its direct supply chain model. The company plans to accelerate profitability and improve on its capital-efficient model by continuing to invest in technology and automation across the value chain.
The company has previously raised three rounds of funding from Lightbox, LGT Lightstone Aspada, FMO, Caspian Impact Investment, and Northern Arc Capital Limited.