What is ONganic?
We are all aware of the harmful pesticides and chemicals used in farming that can easily reach our bodies through the vegetables we intake. Though the minerals and nutrients from veggies are vital for our health, how do we make sure they are free of chemicals? One solution – organic farming! The significant task is to promote organic farming in such a way that small-scale farmers would be able to supply to a larger population of urban consumers. ONganic is an Agri Social Enterprise that makes this possible.
ONganic’s vision is to develop organic, sustainable, resilient, and self-reliant communities in rural India and demonstrate that organic farming is a viable profession for smallholder farmers. ONganic Foods is an Organic NPOP/EU/USDA certified company which has achieved various awards. They work with more than five Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) comprising of about 500-1000 smallholder farmers each in West Bengal for organic and natural produce. The enterprise basically works in East and North East India and is incubated by IIM Calcutta Innovation Park.
ONganic provides an integrated and holistic solution, assisting farmers right from sowing up to market access. ONganic farmers enjoy the benefits of reduced costs, premium prices, buyback, etc. in addition to improved soil quality, biodiversity, and access to healthy organic food. ONganic also supports farmer’s collective in setting up and managing organic input supply chain and provides weather and crop advisory. Currently, they work with 2000+ farmers in West Bengal and helps to double their incomes. ONganic farmers grow premium varieties of organic specialty rice – black rice, red rice, brown rice, aromatic rice, etc. which has always had high international demand.
Check out ONganic‘s company page on KillerLaunch.com.
Check out the website for ONganic here.
Planting the seed of thought
The CEO of ONganic Foods, Ekta Jaju, is an entrepreneurship graduate from ISB, Hyderabad who co-founded the successful social enterprises ONergy solar and Switch ON. Ekta Jaju had always been extremely passionate about building a sustainable, resilient community in Rural India. According to Ekta, finding a reliable market is the biggest challenge that all small farmers face. Making a viable enterprise model that helps to find stable markets could significantly impact the FPCs. ONganic was the result of their determination to find that model.
Past challenges and future visions
Ekta Jaju says that the enterprise has faced unexpected challenges in agriculture, food processing, and marketing. Moreover, Ekta was from none of these backgrounds. Right when they started, managing pest problems in organic cereals was a big challenge. They visited all the food processing institutes in the country to improve knowledge and expertise. ONganic started as a B2C company, but they soon realized that to move large volumes by FPCs, a B2B model is better suited. Now they have become pioneers in all these areas as they soar heights.
Going forward, ONganic will utilize its strength in Agri supply chain management to support FPOs. They plan to create a central online marketplace to bridge the gap between FPCs and the Agri Industry. This platform will provide all relevant information regarding various Agri commodities available with FPCs – quality, price, volume, variety, and region – across East and North East India so buyers can make an informed purchase on its platform. ONganic will also provide additional services to the FPCs and Agri Industry.
The new services to the Agri industry will be :
- Logistic support and price negotiation
- Price trends of essential commodities
- FPC ratings
- Credit support
The services offered to the FPCs :
- Training & Capacity building for understanding markets, pricing, quality, aggregation, etc
- Govt schemes and credit linkage
ONganic has been growing nearly twice every year, and the number of farmers working with them has doubled. They are on the right path to becoming the preferred choice for bulk products from East & North East India.
Milestones and Partnerships
According to Ekta Jaju, ONganic’s first milestone was being able to identify their product bucket, which had high volume and high-value exotic product mix. It could fetch the farmers a better income and had a good demand and low supply. ONganic has multiple partners in sales, processing, and marketing. They work with more than 20 Organic companies in the B2B space and have also partnered with some processing companies for specialized production. ONganic also has a partnership with many International companies for Export marketing in Europe.
Onganic – Pushing through the current scenario
As a result of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown, markets, and transportation services are disrupted. Farmers and FPOs across the state are facing challenges to sell their Rabi & Zaid crops. On the other hand, the Agri Industry is struggling with the lack of supplies, quality, and other problems. They are also not willing to visit the groups or verify produce due to the disruption of train and flight services as well as fear of contamination.
ONganic presently has more than 20 FPOs and above 20,000 farmers in its network who are facing challenges to sell and connect to Food and Agri companies nationally and internationally. As a response, ONganic has decided to support FPOs by setting up the online marketplace.