As the trend of start-ups is buzzing these days, I would like to talk about a start-up story that got featured in YourStory. It’s called Freshokartz Agri Products. As we know, that in vegetable cultivation, around 25% of the total produce is lost due to inefficient logistical arrangement. This startup runs on the model of “On demand procurement” for vegetables directly from farms.
It is operating in Jaipur and its clients include ITC Hotels, Kanha Sweets, Hilton Resorts and other such big names. They claim to be connected with 200 farmers and say that they became profitable within a year. The success story of this startup made me realize something – Businesses which cater to solve inefficiencies are more likely to succeed than those exploring entirely new markets.
This can be supported by the success of Ola and Uber in all metro cities of India. A lot of economists say that it is not rational to buy your own car in metro cities. Firstly, vehicles may cause unnecessary accumulation which leads to increase in idle resources, and secondly, it creates an unnecessary burden of maintenance, insurance on buyers. With advent of the above mentioned two cab service companies in India, more people could access comfortable commute. As the first theorem of Welfare Economics says, “Markets allocate resources efficiently”.
Now, if we shift the focus from big cities to our villages, the scenario is completely different as well as extremely disappointing. My work includes travelling to rural areas frequently, and I realize that public transport is not efficiently managed here in the interiors of Maharashtra. People have to wait for long duration before a bus comes. Government is doing little to provide for the commute in remote rural areas.
If 70% of this country’s people live in countryside, it becomes a huge potential for transport services. I wonder why big private players are not tapping this space. The service providers here remain confined to locals’ own jeeps or auto-rickshaws which are usually operated in a pathetic condition. They pack more than double the number of people that the vehicle can easily accommodate. Buyers are highly exploited in this market, and safety of their lives is not a priority.
What could be the solution? Is the rural population deprived of such facility because people are scattered over a large area and unlike cities, private operators do not find this market feasible to function. If that’s the reason, shouldn’t Government come up with a solution by shifting various ministry offices to rural areas in order to create market linkages. It would definitely pull the crowd in large numbers and many more businesses will bloom alongside. It may also tempt private players to then enter this market.
Everyday, majority of our people are commuting at high risk and it’s not at fair to deprive them of this basic facility.
Featured Image: Flickr