India: Impact investor Menterra invests  in FarmFolks

Photo: Mint

FarmFolks Agro Private Ltd, a category solution provider in the food and vegetable space for both online and offline retailers, has raised an undisclosed amount from Menterra Social Impact Fund, an impact focused venture capital fund, the Menterra Social Impact Fund said in a note. Artha Venture Challenge, an impact investment initiative of the Singh Family Foundation, also participated in the round.

Founded by Lakshmipriyan V.G., FarmFolks is addressing supply chain inefficiencies and information asymmetry to provide fair and consistent market access for small farmers. FarmFolks takes care of the backend supply chain ensuring a consistent supply of residue-free fresh produce. FarmFolks offers on-farm advisory from sowing to harvest for farmers in select crops and procures directly from them. With the cash, the Bengaluru based firm aims to invest in infrastructure and expansion.

“With growing awareness around pesticide residue free fresh fruit and vegetables, the demand will continue to increase. This is the right time for F&V (fruit and vegetable) sector to evolve along the lines of white revolution triggered by Amul with consumers getting quality products and producers getting fair price and market access,” said A.B. Chakravarthy, principal at Menterra Venture Advisors.

FarmFolks currently procures 900 MT (metric tonnes) of fruits and vegetables per month from its associate farmers and delivers it to consumers by partnering with institutions and retailers like Tesco’s Star Bazaar, Big Basket, Namdhari Fresh, Nature Basket, Grofers and Aditya Birla’s MORE.

“We are working towards getting our farmers to meet global benchmarks. We are also organizing separate groups of Organic Growers to bring them under Organic Certification,” said Lakshmipriyan.

Menterra is also using its networks to unlock talent and debt capital in addition to equity investment, he said.

“Beyond capital, we appreciate Menterra’s deep understanding of the farming sector. This partnership is perfectly in sync with the way we are looking at farmer engagement and their welfare,” Lakshmipriyan added.

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This article was first published on Livemint.com