As a globally responsible company, we strive to improve the quality of life for our employees, customers and communities through various interventions and the Direct Farm Program is one of them. Through this program we aim to enable the development of a robust supply chain, link farming communities directly to our consumers, introduce farming best practices and improve the overall quality of life of the farming communities we engage with.
Bharti Walmart is investing in establishing an efficient back-end supply chain management operation to help make it efficient, thereby maximizing value for farmers and retailers as well as consumers. The supply chain operation supports farmers who have limited infrastructure and distribution strength and helps in minimizing the wastage of fresh fruits and vegetables. An efficient supply chain can play an important role in transforming farmers into successful entrepreneurs.
The Direct Farm program began 30 months back with 65 farmers in Malerkotla near Ludhiana in Punjab and has expanded to include over 7,000 farmers across Punjab, UP, Delhi NCR, Haryana, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. The farmers who joined this program are small and marginal farmers. These farmers currently supply 12-16 locally grown vegetables which accounts for about 20% of our stores’ requirement. The objective is to build and implement a sustainable and differentiated crop production model, which will deliver clear economic benefits to the farmers.
Understood current practices and identified critical gaps in the cultivation and post-harvest process after which interventions were made in the following areas:
- Soil testing for nutrient levels to capture deficiencies
- Map agri input applications (fertilizers, irrigation, agrochemicals, seed varieties)
- Form self-help group and appoint a lead farmer to coordinate farm level activities
- Appoint well-qualified field agronomists
- Set up a model nursery that provides healthy seedlings to our member farmers
- Create demonstration farms in partnership with Bayer Crop Science, Nunhems Seeds Company and some local agencies
- Work along with local NGO on a comprehensive sanitation program to help improve hygiene standards and overall quality of life of the farmers
Result: These interventions result in better crop productions and farmers are convinced of the potential of this partnership.
- Bharti Walmart field agronomists work closely with the farmers to develop a planting calendar
- Once the produce is ready we begin direct sourcing
- For farm sourcing, a special system is designed to suit the requirements of small and marginal farmers
- This system enables transparent weighing with digital balances and immediate cash payment
- The pricing strategy has been designed to remove intermediaries and give the farmers more visibility on the market rates
- Bharti Walmart monitors prices constantly so that we are able to ensure marginally higher income for the farmers in our program
- Farmers who deliver on quality get an additional bonus for their produce
Result: Farmers are able to make an informed choice on pricing while selling their produce.
The Co-op Center Initiative:
As our business grows and our scale improves we are moving towards a more robust system for consolidation, handling, packaging and delivery of produce to the stores
Role of the Co-op Center:
- Create a modern fruit and vegetable pack house including cold storage
- Aggregate and consolidate produce from farmers and other vendors
- Pay farmers within 24 hours, pay APMC tax and adhere to other legal compliance
- Grading, sorting and packaging according to company specifications
- Inventory management, batch making and Distribution Centre/Store servicing in line with company requirement
Benefit to farmers:
- 7-10% higher price to farmers than what they get from Mandi
- 3-4% incentive for the quality of the produce farmers deliver to Bharti Walmart based on customer requirement
- Expert advice on better crop planning and management
- Efficient crop calendar management aimed at catching early and late seasons for better prices
- Opportunity to maximize and improve income by offering better quality
Benefit to stores & customers:
- Fresh produce
- Local source
- Consistent quality
- Safer food
- Value for money
- Lower cost compared to open market buys