Here is an effort to cut out the middle man in sale of fruits and vegetables

Empty cartons lay scattered all around a shop in Delhi’s Aurobindo Place Market. The enchanting sweet smell of fresh plums and apricots could still be felt. The Himjoli store was to hold a two-day sale of fresh fruits and vegetables brought directly from the Kumaon region of the Himalayas on June 16- 17. But the whole stock of 400 kg of fruits was sold out on the first day itself. Those who waited for the second day had to face disappointment. But that won’t be for long, as more such sales are on the way.

Himjoli is a social venture company which works with women cooperatives of Kumaon to bring fresh products of the hills to the markets in Delhi and Gurgaon and other major cities. “We are extremely concerned about the difference between the prices farmers receive and the market price for fresh fruits and vegetables. We don’t understand why the farmer in Kumaon gets Rs. 10-15 per kg of the fruits and vegetables he grows while the market price for the same products are Rs.120-140 in Delhi,” says Pankaj Wadhwa, founder and managing director of Himjoli. With the support of their partner Chirag, his organisation has started directly transporting these products through trucks, in the process doing away with the role of exploiting middlemen. “The farmers get a better deal for these products, much better than the mandi prices.”

Prakash Chandra, area manager in Delhi, says, “We made a sale of Rs 15000 in fruits itself. We home deliver the products even if they demand as less as 1kg. Our apricot oil is the bestseller. People come asking for it again and again.” A wide range of products such as jams, pickles, honey, culinary herbs, oils, scrubs are also available at the tiny shop. Another sale is scheduled for mid-July on the demand of disappointed customers who came on the second day and had to make do with leftover plums.

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