Organic agri produce procurement firm Safe Harvest raises funding from Palaash Ventures, others
Bangalore-based Safe Harvest Pvt Ltd, which procures organic produce from farmers and sells it directly to retail customers, has secured Rs 1.74 crore (over $250,000) from Delhi-based early-stage investor Palaash Ventures and a few other investors, including Ford Foundation’s South Asia representative Ganesan Balachander, apart from six farmer producers’ organisations.
Palaash invested Rs 67.5 lakh through debt funding, while the rest of the money came from other investors. The company will use the funds for procurement of agriculture produce as well as streamlining its operations, its founder and CEO Rangu Rao told VCCircle.
Rao has earlier co-founded Samaj Pragati Sahayog, a watershed and self-help group-led livelihood intervention programme. He is a currently a member of the Programme Advisory Group set up by the ministry of rural development to ensure better implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) programme. He is also a member of the task force on the National Rural Livelihood Mission set up by the ministry.
Safe Harvest was founded in 2009 with an aim to bridge the gap between retailers who capitalise on the rising demand for safe food and social organisations that take care of the supply of farmer’s produce. The firm claims that its working model is beneficial for farmers as it increases their market access and income as well as creates an identity for their produce, grown without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides.
“We have a list around 40 commodity stock keeping units to keep the commodities we procure from all over the country. The produce is then tested for pesticide content. Social organisations, formed by local NGOs, constitute dry-land farmers, some of whom own less than three-five acres of land. The produce is procured at 5-10 per cent above the mandi rate. Safe Harvest takes the responsibility for the cost of transportation and other storage costs from there,” Rao explained.
Both individual and institutional buyers can register with the company or contact the firm which sources the required produce from multiple locations and make it available to buyers.
Set up early this year, Palaash is a sector-agnostic investment fund floated by former media industry executives, including Piyush Goyal, an Indian Angel Network member. It started operations early this year with Delhi as its base and has operations in Bangalore as well.
It intends to invest up to $5 million with investment ticket size ranging from Rs 10 lakh to over Rs 2.5 crore. Its portfolio companies also include Ecosense Sustainable Solutions, VoxApp and Travelkhana.com.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)