Farm to table is a concept which most of the urban population still dreams about, making that dream come true is Selvakumar Varadarajan, an academician turned entrepreneur who started Vilfresh in the year 2016 with an aim to provide fresh farm products at every doorstep and to provide employment opportunities to rural youth.
It all started when Selva and his wife were worried to feed packaged milk to his 2.5-year-old daughter as 70% of the packaged milk is adulterated and the milk they were getting did not have the same quality as in villages. Then, they have decided to solve this problem not only inside their family but took it as an opportunity to solve the problem for everyone once and for all through a novel venture.
Selva, a Tamilian born in an agricultural family has practiced agriculture until he decided to pursue graduation. Selva has identified three main issues i.e., the urban consumer is neither obtaining the right quality nor the required quantity products and was paying more than required; the farmer is not getting decent profits because he is buying required inputs at retail products and selling his output products at a wholesale price; the rural villages youth were unemployed or underemployed. Thus he found a solution to all these problems as EEE’s – Enriching the farmer by Empowering the rural youth with Exciting urban customers.
“Since I was in Class 6, I had been playing the role of market connector for our agro products. As a child, I encouraged my grandfather to sell directly to the end consumers in the nearby town where I was doing my schooling. When the selling price of tomatoes was Rs 12 per kg in the town, we used to get a 15 kg basket in the mandi for Rs 80. I used to carry greens and vegetables on my cycle to sell in town, channelizing 100 percent of consumers’ price to my grandfather’s pocket,” he recalls.
Their main aim is to provide all the village fresh agro products to urban customers. The products thrive completely on natural shelf life without the aid of preservatives or chemicals or refrigeration. Initially, the couple collected fresh milk from various dairy farmers from villages nearby and has started delivering to customers within two hours of extraction from a cow. Later they have started delivering all the other value-added farm products like butter, ghee, and paneer.
Currently, Vilfresh is delivering nearly 40 agro-based products to urban customers and clocking around 30,000 deliveries every month in Coimbatore. Villagepreneur is the first-mile soldier and it’s his input which brings the stuff from the farm to the hub. By transforming the life of villagepreneurs they are hoping to reverse migrate people to the villages. The zero mile soldier task is to do the packing and forwarding from the hub. The last mile soldier makes sure timely and safe delivery.
Recently they have also raised Rs.1.15 crore in angel funding by Native Angels. The startup uses this funding to expand to five more cities, with a plan to enter Tirupur, Salem, and Madurai.
“We want to turn agriculture into a viable proposition by setting up an alternate distribution channel for agro-based products, by bringing down their cost of farming with an efficient supply chain for agro-inputs,” says Selva in an Interview.
The next time you are craving some fresh dairy products, know that you have Vilfresh that can cater to your dairy needs with fresh and delicious products at a reasonable price!