Aranyak Ecoharvest: Consume to Conserve

Bhabani Sankar Swamy,DirectorAranyak Ecoharvest resonates global sustainability and equity, connects the urban consumer to traditional farmers and encourage conservation. The company provides geographically indicative niche products, which are indigenous, has health benefits, contributes to low carbon footprint, naturally cultivated and processed, most importantly grown / collected by small and marginal farmers. “We ensure the consumer gets the best possible grade of product that binds them to the root, accessible through out and affordable. Our platform and offerings are open to all and we have taken great care to price the products at par with conventional market,” speaks Bhabani Sankar Swamy, Director.

The Beginning
A discussion with a friend on the current scenario of socio-economic agricultural landscape is what initially triggered the idea of Aranyak. Bhabani had come back to India after having worked with diverse sectors like IT, Supply chain, Agro inputs, Commodity and Frozen food. Pranab on the other hand was working extensively for land governance, water, livelihood &
forestry and was doing a project to ascertain the causes and impact of farmer suicide. Both of them discussed the scope of preserving the indigenous cultural ethnic food while ensuring a remunerative livelihood. The more they dug deeper, they found almost all the initiatives were focused on increasing production rather market linkage.

" Aranyak has deployed a GIS based mobile application to collect & aggregate supplier, farmer data along with production and availability forecast"

This led the duo work on several models for over a year. They also zeroed in few market and consumer surveys about the acceptability of the products and arrived at a definitive gap in demand and supply. “At that point of time, Dabur India Ltd was also looking for a partner who could supply medicinal plant products (mostly NTFP collected from forests) from Odisha. Hence, we decided to utilize the opportunity and formed Aranyak,” mentions Bhabani.

Since then, Aranyak has come a long way to educate small farmers the benefits of sustainability, collaborative marketing & bargain power and to have a long-term goal. The company is associated with around 5000 farmers and NTFP collectors in Odisha, WB & Manipur. Till now,they have supplied around 42 products all over India with a natural & healthy alternative to conventional products.

Promoting Sustainable Consumption
Promoting natural and ecologically sustainable products, Aranyak's flagship offerings include Millets, Arrowroot, Local Pigeon pea, Black Rice, Small grain indigenous Scented rice in food segment and Myrobalans (Harad, Baheda, Amla), Dhataki, Vidarikand in Medicinal plant products. The offerings are based on traceability, accessibility and affordability.

The company offers both online and offline channels and has their own website and app for consumer interface. “We have deployed a GIS based mobile application to collect & aggregate supplier, farmer data along with production and availability forecast. This helps channelize our funds and resources efficiently. We are also in the early stage of designing a blockchain based distributed ledger solution for complete transparency and consensus-based supply chain,” he says.

The Road to Success
Aranyak till date has signed partnership MOU with numerous SHGs, Non-Profits and some Govt. Agencies, and corporates such as Dabur India Ltd, OFSDP, Welthunger Hilfe, Nutrichoice, and others. Team Aranyak has embarked upon a very ambitious target of reaching a million consumers and million farmers in next 3-4 years. In the process, they are aiming to replace at least 20 percent of the grocery basket of an average consumer. “We are expanding into more cities and adding more value to the products. We are also planning to set up a secondary processing operation in Odisha in coming days to cater to growth in demand,” concludes Bhabani.