I and DS Poonia, have extensive knowledge and experience of working in the North East and had a universal consensus that the farmers were unable to get better returns because of the lack of skills and other expertise. We formed the North East Foundation in 2015, a non-profit that makes the farmers skillful and enhance their knowledge.
While running our startup, we realized that farmers were not receiving good business because of the lack of branding and marketing. Farmers neither had any expertise and infrastructure in creating a demand for their products nor were they well-connected with the market.
We decided to market their products. It led to the launch of North East Farm Sales Promotion ( NEFSP) in January 2019, a startup to promote and create a market for the natural products from the northeast. We have managed to increase the income of the farmers by paying them more than the market price and sell their products across the country.
We also realized that the farmers were being blackmailed by the middlemen to sell their perishable goods at low prices because of no cold storage facilities. To solve this, we decided to offer farmers the services of sorting, grading, pouching and vacuuming. For example, ginger turns into a ginger paste, fresh pineapple to pineapple in a tin and oranges into a squash.
We are also dealing with innovative value-added products like self-defence safety spray for the use of safety of women and room freshener made from cinnamon. We are also launching another brand, “Secrets of Brahmaputra” to sell indigenous products of North East.
Some of the significant products are lemon pickles, Assam orthodox tea, black rice, mizo chilly dry, Nagaland Kholar Beans.
At present, we offer over 15 products with the brand name “North East Heritage” and are working with over 1000 farmers in North East.
We got incubated at Assam Startup-The Nest and IIM Innovation Park, Calcutta, which has boosted our growth.6