Frutunes Food Products | Mr. Prathap Selvan’s Vision to Empower Indian Agrotech Export Ecosystem
According to estimates by the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization, 194 million Indians go hungry every day. About 40% of fresh produce is wasted annually before reaching consumers due to a lack of supply chain infrastructure. The UN organization attributes this problem too massive food wastage — about US$14 billion.
Here comes a visionary who aims to revolutionize the Agritech space in India. Mr. Prathap Selvan established Frutunes Food Products as an Agrotech startup company which has redefined the agri-market and helping farmers in scaling up their agricultural business. According to industry estimates, the global agrotech market is growing at a rate of CAGR 18 percent and is expected to reach the worth of $ 24 billion by 2022.
Selvan explains, “Our goal is to build and sustain the quality and make it available at a fair price. Today, we can take the farmers’ produce in bulk at a fixed income or revenue, and for consumers, healthy produce. We also allow Importers and Buyers to trace back to the farm and the farmer from whom they have sourced the produce (farm level trace-ability)”.
Mr. Prathap Selvan’s Inspiration behind Frutunes Food Products
The driving force behind establishing Frutunes Food Products is the plight of Indian farmers who work in tough conditions but end up getting less price for their produce. Indian Farmers need to deal with numerous factors before they can sell their produce in the market.
Factors such as limited connectivity, inadequate cold storage, infrastructure, supply-demand mismatches, exorbitant payments to middlemen, and agents lead to grave losses. This has impacted farmland income as well as the morale of the farmers who then have to rely on land-linked loans to survive. This situation has pushed many Indian farmers to the brink of bankruptcy and some to suicide.
Selvan decided to build a foolproof farm to freight mechanism comprising of production, distribution, and food supply chain. Frutunes has a well thought out methodology, meticulous planning, preparation, and hard work behind this.
Overcoming Challenges as a Start-up
Selvan shared his experience that during the initial years, there were many challenges in front of Frutunes Food Products. According to him, the primary challenge which the company faced was the big exporters in the market who knew the gaps in the system and often outbid them. The other challenge was to maintain the quality of Organic Products. Due to large volumes, it was tough to procure and grade the farmers’ produce but gradually, as the company gained experience, things improved.
How Frutunes Has Carved a Niche In Agrotech Industry
Selvan told that the best thing about Frutunes is that they procure directly from farmers. As an agrotech startup, they have eliminated any scope of middleman or agents. 116 FPOs have registered with them and they have 5 preferred food manufacturers also. Frutunes have a locking period of 90 days, where it will give orders to the FPO/Manufacturer at the agreed rate. They aim to fulfill requirements along with the shipment of the products within 10 hours.
For Frutunes, clients are supreme and hence they pay a great amount of attention to understand the needs and requirements of the customers. On the domestic front, they are getting amazing support from FPOs for large orders. They have a good set of clients at GCC and also work on GCC government tenders as their product quality is organic and quite good. The company has grown tremendously in the last one year and has branches at Jordan, Utah, USA, GCC, and Asia-pacific regions.
Why Customers Should Trust Frutunes Food Products
With Frutunes, one thing is sure that there is no question of mistrust. The company has developed a mechanism to transfer 100 percent money without commission directly into the farmers’ bank accounts within 24 hours of purchase. Otherwise, in the open market, it takes more than 15 days at least for farmers to get their money, and sometimes they don’t get 100 percent also.
Frutunes claims to be transparent in their dealings with farmers which is seldom to be seen in the Indian markets. They communicate the actual demand and estimated price before the harvest. It assures the farmers and safeguards their earnings.
Frutunes offerings and services
Frutunes’ model is based on removing inefficiencies and intermediate middlemen from the supply chain. Keeping this in mind, the company has developed “Quality Basket” comprising of quality measures that are adopted in GCC. It has entire details of the Farmers and FPOs.
Their business model helps in improving farmers’ income and provide a consistent demand. Also, International buyers get benefits of quality, fresh, and hygienically handled produce through them.
Frutunes Food Products have a variety of items ranging from perishable items to value-added food products. As the company grew, they have developed a focus on vegetable powders (crystal concentrates) and essential oils as well. According to Selvan, they have a robust online platform for sales and continuously work on the SaaS-based products for their domestic model.
What Can We Expect From Frutunes in Future
Selvan shares his plans for Frutunes. They are planning to focus on packed fruits and pulp. There is tremendous opportunity in this segment for Frutunes Food. Consumer preferences are changing towards healthier options. People now tend to prefer food products that are naturally prepared from organic raw materials. Fruit pulps have a longer shelf life as compared to the natural form leading to lesser transportation and storage costs for manufacturers.
Mr. Prathap Selvan’s Journey as an Entrepreneur
Selvan describes his entrepreneurial journey as an adventurous one which has taught him great lessons. He was in the final year of engineering when this idea of entrepreneurship struck him. According to him, it was the best decision that he had taken. Since then, it has been 6 long years and a Failed Business that has brought him where he is today.
Presently, he is also working as a Brand Strategist and Consultant for Businesses and helping them to grow. He believes that he still has numerous things in his bucket list that needs to be ticked before he ends his entrepreneurial journey.
What Do You Hope To Accomplish Within Next Few Years
In the words of Prathap Selvan, “Agriculture is 20% of the Indian economy and 49% of the workforce. So, why do I need to do more than agritech?” He also shares that 13 agritech startups have raised total funding (disclosed amounts) of around $65.6 million in 2018, up over 21 percent from total investments of around $54 million for 18 agritech startups in 2017.
Although the size of the funds raised by agritech startups is small when compared with the overall size of investments raised by startups in the country, there is an overall improvement from the investments seen in the space in previous years. Investors firmly believe in Agri Tech startups who are doing social ventures to farmers and also to society globally. They are investing in Agri tech because of the massive value it is generating.
Mr. Prathap’s Advice for Young Entrepreneurs
Mr. Prathap Selvan would like to convey a message to all the budding entrepreneurs: “The success of perishable goods lies in making the finished goods reach the consumers from the farmers at the earliest”.
He tells that there is no universal recipe for success. For young entrepreneurs, he would like to convey that you should undergo the process of building a business and learn the aspects of running a business. Don’t let failures deter you to aim for higher goals.