QUICK BYTES: Small farmers in Nashik are now using the Internet grape vine

Grape farmers in Nasik district, Maharashtra are going online in a bid to bypass middlemen. Learn about the e-commerce initiative by Bhaskar Kamble.

India’s e-commerce scene is growing by leaps and bounds. The rise of sites like Flipkart are a testimony to the growing comfort level with the digital world, not to mention buying power, of the Indian consumer. But most sites like Flipkart and Jabong are middlemen and not actual producers of the goods. Even sites selling produce online are not farmers themselves. But this is changing.

Bhaskar Kamble, a grape farmer from Nashik, Maharashtra decided to tap the potential of the internet to sell his produce directly to the consumer.

He told The Guardian,

“If Indians are buying lingerie online, we were sure they would buy high-quality grapes off the internet too.”

Kamble’s website, bestgrapes.co.in (he is now on Facebook as well) sells produce from a collective of a dozen or so farmers from Jalalpur in Nasik district. His plan was to sell to customers within the district, but he has now expanded to selling grapes across the state, thanks to the interest his website generated. He says, this way he gets 2-3 times the amount he would get if he sold it to a middleman. However, the cost of packaging and transport is proving to be rather high and cutting into their profit margins.

Currently his initiative is limited to a few farmers and the website is managed in-house by family members and friends, but he hopes more farmers will be interested to join them and that this will make the venture viable.