Why cricketer Sehwag and Bollywood star Akshay Kumar invested in this organic farming firm

Two Brother Organic Farms has admired bringing agricultural produce from Indian villages to 53 countries, and Bollywood star Akshay Kumar and former India International Cricketer Virender Sewage has helped fund the Series A Phase One.

These two superstars are among those who contributed the ₹ 14.5 crore pre-Series A fund for Two Brothers Organic Farm (TBOF) operating from Bhodani village, about 150 km from Pune.

One of the unique features of Two Brothers Organic Farm is that it delivers 48 produce from various Indian villages to 53 countries across the world.

B2C company

“We operate from only a village. Our main production plants are also located only in the village,” says Satyajit Hang, co-founder of TBOF, which launched as a brand five years ago.

Primarily a business to consumers, The Organic Farm Company currently works with 1,000 farmers across 16 states and two union territories. “We’ve trained 16,000 farmers in total,” said the co-founder, who set up the company nine years ago with his brother Ajinkia.

A leading organic producer, TBOF has a 32-acre farm in Bhodani that is certified by Ecocert, a global organic certification organization. Its products are certified by the Agricultural and Processing Export Development Authority, the nodal agency for organic farming certification in India.

The company, which plans to raise Series A funding in the next three to four months, is working with tribal farmers in the Araku Valley of Andhra state where they grow their Arabica coffee. It has also collaborated with tribal farmers in and around Mumbai and in the Western Ghats, where indigenous rice varieties are grown.

70% direct site sales

We have just started working with some farmers in Jammu and Kashmir to grow saffron without chemicals. Then we have farmers in Goa where we make jaggery from coconut, jaggery powder, virgin coconut oil and wood-pressed coconut oil.

At least 70 per cent of TBOF’s sales, roughly Rs 2.8 crore per month, comes from its website. Another 15 percent comes from Amazon and the rest through offline stores. Currently, the company has an offline store in Mumbai but they are not looking forward to opening similar stores now. “We have two lakh customers in 53 countries but these people are mainly from India. We have never advertised any of our products outside India. Through word of mouth, we have customers,” said the co-founder of the company.

TBOF, which sells fruit, horticultural crops, millet, cereals and dairy products, plans to expand its direct-to-consumer (D2C) business in India. “We plan to grow our D2C business by eliminating all kinds of middlemen, even if they are Amazon or Flipkart,” said Hange, who ventured into organic farming with his brother who quit banking jobs.

Value added products

The company, whose A2 ghee is a popular product, is primarily a business to consumer and business to business (B2B) business only in Dubai. On the B2B front, it’s trying to tie up with some of the big organic multinationals like Whole Foods and expand into the US and Europe. “We don’t sell our organic products as fresh. We add value to them. So we have a range of items on display, peanut oil, ghee, ghee, jaggery powder, liquid jaggery, etc.

Two Brothers Organic Farm processes 8,000 liters of milk per day from around 6,000 local cows. It processes 100 tons of wheat and groundnuts per month, 10 tons of millet per month, 50 tons of coconuts and 15 tons of mangoes. “Each of our 48 products requires specific raw materials. We process nearly 5,000 tons of sugarcane annually to make powdered jaggery and liquid jaggery,” Hung said.

Changing marketing strategy

“Our idea is to help farmers produce food without any chemicals and without depleting the fertility of the soil and making sure that the soil retains more water,” he said.

TBOF wants to increase the number of farmers who grow organic produce and ensure there is more rural employment. “Our third goal is to ensure more consumers have access to healthy organic foods,” said the company’s co-founder, who started it all by following Elaine Ingham of the Rodale Research Institute.

Two Brothers Organic Farm’s entry into the market was interesting as they produced organic papaya for the first time. Traders in the yards of the Agricultural Marketing Committee offered them half the price of the farmer who had grown the plant using chemicals. This was despite the fruit tasting like jaggery. Then Hanges decided to change their marketing strategy.

Farm Relations Managers

“We started selling to vendors, then we started providing Star Bazaar in malls. Then we realized that fresh fruit has its own limits. It needs cold chain and storage. So our milk became ghee, our sugarcane became jaggery, peanuts became peanut oil and so on.” .

The company has Farm Relationship Managers (FRMs) who visit farms once every two weeks to assist farmers from sowing to harvest. FRMs conduct at least 24 farm visits annually.

Although Ecocert carried out the inspections, TBOF ensures that processes are duly followed and has a tracking system from seed condition to harvest, Hange said.