Bharatrath is a social impact platform for micro-entrepreneurs. We work with farmer groups, women's groups, NGOs, local producers, tribal groups to bring their local, authentic & curated quality products to your doorsteps.
Here is a statistic for all — 42% of total employment in India comes from Agriculture while its GDP contribution is 14%. Now consider this — 45% of total employment in India comes from MSME sector and its GDP contribution is 29%.
Let these numbers sink in first. In our country, 90% of employed people generate just 43% of the GDP. How efficient is this? No wonder a large proportion of our population still lives below the poverty line. If we must lift our society’s income, we must increase the productivity per capita of this population manifold.
We began the Bharatrath journey with a simple goal in our minds — can we get more money per kg for the grains grown by farmers in my village? However, the deeper we went into the rabbit hole of farm/food products supply chain, the more we realized the enormity of the problem as well as the tremendous opportunity it offers to transform the lives of vast majority of people.
The MSMEs in farm/food sector are riddled with structural as well as sectoral problems. Structurally, farm/food products are perishable, geographically limited, and seasonal. While consumers demand products that are perennial, available everywhere and do not perish. Then we have specific problems with the farm/food sector itself. Our farmers & food producers are small scale. The supply chain for food products is complicated, that these micro-entrepreneurs are not able to manage. Therefore, there are a lot of processing aggregators and middlemen in the value chain. Each providing their own input to the process.
As a result, our micro-entrepreneurs (farmers & food producers) are relegated to be the weakest members of the value chain, while they are the actual product makers. This value chain has developed over last many decades because of what I call the Industrialization of farm/food products.
Because consumers expect the food products to be like factory generated products — uniform quality, long lasting & addictively yummy. Therefore, we have uniform sized & colored Pomegranates, long lasting Apples, processed food with preservatives & loads of sugar.
Now the challenge is to come to a middle ground — provide the food products in their most natural form as well as meet consumer expectations.
Here is an idea that we are trying to experiment at Bharatrath — instead of one global/national market, why don’t we create smaller decentralized market places for farm/food products, which consists primarily of local farm/food producers with a mix of providers from far off places of unique products. Remember the local sabji mandis that our grandparents used to go to, which are still there in many of our villages. Why shouldn’t we have our own local mandis in our urban modern lifestyles?
We have already created such decentralized marketplaces in parts of Pune, consisting of unique ecosystems of local food producers. Now consumers have a trusted place to get all their household essentials from their own local food producers. The key is to replicate this everywhere.
Imagine such clusters of decentralized marketplaces in our neighborhoods, all over the country. How transformational that would be? On one hand, we are going to provide direct consumer access to our micro-entrepreneurs by simplifying the supply chain. At the same time, consumers can get local, fresh, seasonal & unprocessed food products, with a healthy dose of exotic products like Himachal Apples or Muzaffarpur Litchi or Coimbatore Millets.
Only pre-condition is we as consumers must want to buy only local food products. This entails a dramatic yet healthier shift towards our food habits.
So how does one transform a nation — by making sure you only buy healthy local, unprocessed & seasonal food products. At Bharatrath, we have already begun this journey. Lets all join this movement and snowball it to make really impactful at the societal level.
Sandeep Muley, Co-founder.