Why cricketer Sehwag and Bollywood star Akshay Kumar invested in this organic farming venture

Bollywood star Akshay Kumar and former India International cricketer Virender Sehwag are impressed by Two Brother Organic Farms transporting farm produce from Indian villages to 53 countries and have helped fund Pre-Series A.

These two stars are among those who contributed to the ₹14.5 million Pre-Series A funding for Two Brothers Organic Farm (TBOF), which operates in the village of Bhodani, some 150km from Pune.

One of the unique features of Two Brothers Organic Farm is that they offer 48 products from different Indian villages in 53 countries around the world.

B2C companies

“We only operate from one village. Our main production facilities are also just in one village,” says Satyajit Hange, co-founder of TBOF, which launched as a brand five years ago.

The organic farming company is primarily a business-to-consumer company and currently works with 1,000 farmers in 16 states and two union territories. “We have trained a total of 16,000 farmers,” said the co-founder, who founded the company nine years ago with his brother Ajinkya.

As one of the leading producers of organic products, TBOF owns a 32 hectare farm in Bhodani which is certified by Ecocert, a global organic certification organization. Its products are certified by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, the nodal agency for organic farming certification in India.

The company, which aims to raise Series A funding over the next three to four months, is working with tribal farmers in Andhra’s Araku Valley, where they grow Arabica coffee. It has also partnered with tribal farmers in and around Mumbai and in the Western Ghats, where native rice varieties are grown.

70% direct website sales

“We have just started working with some farmers in Jammu and Kashmir to grow saffron without chemicals. Then we have farmers in Goa where we make coconut-based jaggery, jaggery powder, as well as virgin coconut oil and wood-pressed coconut oil,” Hange said.

At least 70 percent of TBOF sales, or almost ₹2.8 million per month, come through the website. Another 15 percent comes from the Amazon website and the rest from offline stores. The company currently has an offline store in Mumbai, but has no plans to open similar stores at this time. “We have 200,000 customers in 53 countries, but these people are mainly from India. We have never promoted our products outside of India. Word of mouth got us customers,” said the company’s co-founder.

TBOF, which sells fruit, horticultural crops, millet, grains and dairy, plans to expand its direct-to-consumer (D2C) business in India. “We plan to grow our D2C business to eliminate all kinds of middlemen, even if it’s Amazon or Flipkart,” said Hange, who made the move to organic farming with his brother, who left his banking jobs .

Products with added value

The company, whose A2 Ghee is a popular product, is primarily a business-to-consumer company and operates business-to-business (B2B) only in Dubai. In the B2B space, the company is trying to partner with some big organic multinationals like Whole Foods and expand in the US and Europe. “We don’t sell our organic products as fresh produce. We create added value for you. So we have a range of picks on offer, peanut oil, wood, ghee, jaggery powder, liquid jaggery and the like,” he said.

The Two Brothers Organic Farm processes 8,000 liters of milk from around 6,000 local cows every day. It processes 100 tons of wheat and peanuts, 10 tons of millet, 50 tons of coconut and 15 tons of mangoes monthly. “Each of our 48 products requires a specific raw material. We process almost 5,000 tons of sugar cane into jaggery powder and liquid jaggery annually,” Hange said.

change marketing strategy

“Our idea is to help farmers produce food without chemicals and without affecting soil fertility and ensure the soil saves more water,” he said.

TBOF wants to increase the number of farmers growing organic products and create more jobs in rural areas. “Our third goal is to ensure that more consumers have access to healthy, organic food,” said the company’s co-founder, who started it all by succeeding Elaine Ingham of the Rodale Research Institute.

Two Brothers Organic Farm’s entry into the market was interesting as they were the first to produce organic papaya. Dealers at the Farm Marketing Committee farms offered them half the price of a grower who grew the crop with chemicals. And that although the fruit tasted like jaggery. It was then that the Hanges decided to change their marketing strategy.

Farm Relationship Manager

“We started selling to merchants and then started deploying Star Bazaar in malls. Then we realized that fresh fruit has its own limitations. You need a cold chain and storage. So our milk became ghee, our sugar cane became jaggery, peanuts became peanut oil, and so on,” he said.

The company has Farm Relationship Managers (FRMs) who visit the farms every two weeks to mentor farmers from seed to harvest. These FRMs conduct at least 24 farm visits annually.

Although Ecocert conducted inspections, TBOF ensures processes are properly followed and has a traceability system from seed condition to harvest, Hange said.

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/why-cricketer-sehwag-and-bollywood-star-akshay-kumar-invested-in-this-organic-farming-firm/article66897007.ece Why cricketer Sehwag and Bollywood star Akshay Kumar invested in this organic farming venture

Russell Falcon

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