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Kisan First aims to end poverty for rural farmers by enabling them to have greater ownership within the food value chain. We provide the co-investment capital, operational expertise, and market linkages necessary to form economically sustainable joint venture processing plants with farmer-owned entities such as Producer Companies. By doing so, we will greatly increase and stabilize farmer incomes. Our initial focus is helping tomato farmers in Maharashtra process their tomatoes into peeled tomatoes and linking them to buyers such as the restaurant industry in Mumbai.
Through our research we have found that there is an unfilled demand for high quality, affordable processed tomatoes in restaurants and hospitality groups. Head chefs and procurement managers groups have expressed common concerns with the affordability and quality of processed tomato products. The lack of these ingredients in the market often forces these restaurants to rely on time-intensive manual processing of raw inputs, whose availability and consistency are irregular or to import at great expense.
Current economic conditions dictate that small farmers operate as small inefficient producers, making them vulnerable to market price risk and low margins. Fresh produce is highly perishable which makes its price in the market highly volatile.
By enabling farmers to own an equity stake in value-added processing, Kisan First helps farmers stabilize and increase their revenue and serves as a catalyst for rural economic development. Our model will have direct and tangible impact on farmers’ income. Through our joint venture model, the farmers will receive a profit share from the processing unit and due to the high quality inputs requiredwe will be able to pay farmers a rate that is premium to the market. Also, the market for processed food is much more stable than that for fresh produce due to the longer shelf life of processed foods. Finally, by building and operating processing plants close to the production source, we will create employment and grow local economies.
We will go to market by progressing through a series of product prototyping, followed by demand validation, then operations and logistics pilot, and finally full-scale launch.
We have built key relationships that will enable us to pilot our model with minimal capital expenditure.