Today, globalization is changing the way we put food on our table. In the past, farm management was only the main concern in the field of agriculture where farmers were the only ones who served as producer, supplier, laborer, manager, and owner. However, now all of those hats may be owned by multiple individuals. The agri-food system has emerged to accommodate this diversity of roles and responsibilities.
Agriculture today is more than just farming or farm management; it is a combination of numerous components that allows consumers to experience a safe, abundant, diverse, and accessible source of plant and animal goods.
Agribusinesses encompass the full agri-food system, from input supply to farm production, assembly and distribution, processing, wholesaling, and retailing, all the way to consumers' preferences. Agribusinesses are one of the main generators of employment and income worldwide improving the sustainability of food value chains as well as promoting food safety by supporting the small scale farmers. There are many agribusinesses that offer new standards and data to prove the food safety and quality aiming to cater the consumer demands for safe foods.
The following are the five agribusiness companies that are promoting safe food in Nepal through different approaches:
Shreenagar Agro is an agribusiness that provides integrated services to farmers. Shreenagar Group consists of five enterprises with the goal of being Nepal's most practical knowledge, efficient, and innovative agri-business firms. It is a one-stop solution for all farming needs, including seeds, feeds, technical support, capacity-building training, access to finance/insurance, market linkage, and an innovation hub.
Currently, poultry breeder farming for broiler and layer, hatchery for production of broiler and layers for day-old-chickens, feed mill for production of mass and pellet feed for poultry and other livestock, and commercial farming for broiler and layer as well as distribution of eggs have all become part of the companies' agri-business conglomerate.
SAF is also tracking its egg supply chain using a blockchain-based supply chain tracking system AgriClear. They track all the information related to the supply chain like the producer’s name, farm location, breed, date of laying, cleaning, sorting, packaging, and the distance travelled by the product until it reaches the final consumers. Consumers can scan the QR code on the eggs and can get the information in a few seconds.
Shreenagar is a brand which has a strong emphasis on quality of the product. For safe and quality products, SAF also tests each and every raw material and finished product in its advanced lab. It has adhered to the highest standards and placed a strong emphasis on research and development in order to produce safe and high-quality products for both consumers and farmers.
KHETI is a digital agri-food tech platform founded in 2016. Currently, it has 10+ outlets, 2 Branches, and 3000+ Farmers in its network. It is an integrated web and mobile-based platform with three modules: KHETI Farm (farmer focused), Farm Management Tool (farmer focused) and KHETI Food (consumer focused).
The main goal of the Kheti Platform is to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers. Here, farmers can use the kheti Food app to locate a market for their produce as well as acquire farm tools, machinery, guidance, and training. It also promotes safe food in Nepal by connecting farmers and consumers by allowing them to buy and sell fresh vegetables and fruits in a transparent way.
FreshKtm is one of Nepal's innovative agritech startups founded in 2020. Currently, it has only one outlet located in Ratopul, Kathmandu. It’s main mission is to work in the B2B supply chain, but as now it is selling vegetables directly to consumers for branding purposes and also to raise awareness of the fresh and safe locally cultivated food. It offers consumers fresh produce that has been carefully selected, tested in labs, and checked for pesticide use, food safety, and taste. “Consumers could get safe and fresh veggies at a fair price because there would be no middleman in the vegetable supply chain as Freshktm buys directly from farmers.” - Sandip Adhikari, Chief Executive Officer of Freshktm. It not only focuses on consumers, but it also uses technology to assist farmers with better planning and productivity, as well as payment and financial stability.
Today, the agricultural sector's underperformance is being accelerated by unequal distribution of goods in the supply chain, resulting in post-harvest losses. So, Freshktm is more into promoting safe food in Nepal and educating customers and farmers about the value of quality produce, with the goal of reducing post-harvest fruit and vegetable wastes. It also assists farmers on a variety of vegetables from planting to harvest for quality assurance and also only purchases products from farmers after inspecting the quality, which is then graded and delivered to retail stores.
Mato is a brand under Golyan Agro Trade which provides fresh and organic fruits, vegetables and other essentials to the customers around Kathmandu. The brand name ‘Mato’ itself is associated with the soil which connects us with the roots. The company was founded with an idea of supporting and encouraging farmers to grow organic produce without the use of chemicals. All of Mato's products are 100 percent organic as it only sources organic vegetables from all across the country and sells them under their brand name.
The company has opened Mato brand stores across several areas of the Kathmandu valley, where they sell not just organic vegetables, fruits, and pulses, but also tea, coffee, eggs, and other products produced by Nepali farmers.They are promoting safe, healthy and organic products through their brand in Nepal.
AgriClear is a mobile- based solution that makes it easier to track good farming habits and practices from farm to finger. It uses blockchain technology to record the information of agro-supply chains and creates a distinct identity for farm products. The tracked agro-products come with labels including unique QR codes which consumers can use their smartphones to scan labels to acquire detailed supply chain information including the agro-inputs used, harvesting details processing details etc.
Meanwhile, through traceability and transparency in the food supply chain, AgriClear is promoting safe food practices in Nepal. It has been working with leading agribusinesses in Nepal like Shreenagar Agro Farm (SAF) and Alpine Coffee Estate to track their key products. The major goal of AgriClear is to help agro-enterprises build trust with their end-consumers with the use of data and facts.