NE’s First ‘Woman-Agripreneur’ Empowering Farmers of the Northeast

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NE’s First ‘Woman-Agripreneur’ Empowering Farmers of the Northeast

Rifa Deka | June 20, 2020 18:21 hrs

Very few women are passionate about farming. Dawdling in Mandis, talking to vendors, travelling to remote areas and truly experiencing the countryside in its purest form, most people find it very difficult to venture into something of this sort, but one woman does it all and terms it ‘adventurous’.

Pinki D M Saharia, a leading woman entrepreneur from Guwahati and the owner of WE Farm Fresh, was once a small girl with big dreams of owning acres and acres of organic farmlands. “It all began with an advertisement of a renowned dietary supplement company which showed large organic farmlands. As a child, I imagined myself riding my bicycle, amid the lush green fields and I promised myself that when I’d grow up, I’d build an empire of my own.” 

Always an entrepreneur, Pinki owns an eatery right opposite to the Radisson Blu Hotel called Whistling Woods in Guwahati’s Jalukbari, which has been doing pretty well. 

With the little money she had, she decided to live her dream of building an empire in the Agro world with her initiative called Prithvii Agrofresh.

She initially took a land on lease in Sonapur and began working towards her dream about a decade ago. She found a plot in Sonapur and promised owners of the land a beautiful project out of their farmland. She built a road which went up to their plot and also provided employment to some labourers from Baksa. 

She let farmers work on the same farmlands so they could earn a livelihood and paid them a share out of the revenue generated. Despite her efforts, farmers were misguided by some people and the initiative went out of order.

Due to the soft corner that she had for farmers, Pinki let it all go and diverted her attention towards helping farmers rather than farming herself. 

She now sources, procures and sends consignments from across Northeast to Delhi. Pinki incurred huge losses initially, but did not give up or fall back in her efforts to help farmers. 

There came a time when she thought that she would have to completely put aside her dreams, but she did not stop working on them despite a series of failures.

Prithvii Agrofresh was established in 2011 in Guwahati, Assam to supply excellent quality of fresh fruits and vegetables with the highest standards to urban population, hotels, restaurants and hypermarkets across Delhi NCR. 

Subsequently, Prithvii Agrofresh opened doors in retail as WE Farm in New Delhi, Kolkata and Assam, for the supply of premium quality fresh fruits and vegetables picked up from the best farms of India.  

Prithvii Agrofresh is a social enterprise founded by a passionate young woman of Assam Pinky D M Saharia with an objective to encourage women farmers across North Eastern Region to do organic cultivation and ensuring them a proper market linkage to make it more sustainable commercially.

“I have my franchise outlets across various cities; we have tied up with Mother Dairy Safal stores across Delhi and I also supply produce from across Northeast in other chain of stores such as Reliance Fresh and Big Basket, etc, across Delhi NCR area” said Saharia, founder of WE Farm Fresh, a unit of Prithvii Agrofresh.

This is the right time to get close to farmers, they are in need and require help. People outside Assam but within the country are not even aware of the things produced here. From Black rice, Joha Rice, Fruits and Vegetables to other fresh produce, the region has so much to offer,” she said.

Fresh produce from Northeast has a huge demand outside the country but not within the country. The Northeast region faces a lot challenges when it comes to logistics and the time taken to transport these products to markets in Delhi and other states is very long.

“Pineapples for instance; in Delhi, there is a great demand for Pineapples and most of the produce there, is from the South. This is mainly because the route is such that transportation is easy, but farmers from Northeast have to face a lot of challenges to sell their produce there. Pineapples from Manipur are known for their high sugar content which also makes them highly perishable and the stocks barely make it to markets in a fresh state. Here is where my initiative steps in; I try and help bridge this gap and supply fresh product in markets to help both the farmer and the consumer,” explained the agri-entrepreneur. 

Pinki, who has been ‘Vocal for local’ for over a decade now, has been promoting premium category Pineapples from Tripura and Manipur in Delhi. Tripura Sundari, which is said to be among the sweetest variety of Pineapples and the Organic Queen Pineapples from Manipur are among the best quality Pineapples that she promotes through her initiative of helping farmers of the region. 

These products lacked a premium market earlier but are now in demand in the capital.

This year, Pinki is all set to introduce a new variety of Pineapples from the Barak Valley region which will hit the hypermarket in Delhi soon.

“When the lockdown first began, I started delivering fresh produce to people at their doorsteps as they could not come out. I initiated this especially to help the senior citizens for whom it was unsafe to stir outside their homes, given the present COVID scenario,” said Pinki. 

“I was approached by a lot of people and even by government agencies, so I brought my business here to Guwahati and began helping people,” she added.

Her organization is optimizing Agriculture supply chain with Research & Technology and with a dedicated vision of transforming farmers’ life by incorporating technology in fresh fruits & vegetable supply chain. With logistical challenges and with absolute uncertainty, Pinki took a giant leap of faith to help farmers whose produce was higly perishable and getting wasted during the lockdown. 

Amid fears of the spread of novel Coronavirus, WE Farm Fresh has ensured that products delivered to her customers are well cleaned, packaged and delivered in such a manner that it ensures safety of both the consumer and the person delivering the produce.

Those willing to order farm fresh produce can place their orders on WE Farm’s website www.wefarmfresh.com or call on +91 98702 83506.

To bridge the demand and supply gap and to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their produce, WE Farm Fresh has now begun operations in the city to bring fresh produce from the farms, straight to her consumers.

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