Shriya Nahata, a first-time entrepreneur, is on a mission to create an ecosystem for organic food production and a collaborative environment for farmers and customers. His startup Zama Organics is his first step towards creating this vision.
Shriya launched Zama Organics in late 2017 and started delivering fresh organic products and spices in Mumbai. With a network of more than 50,000 farmers across India, the Mumbai-based startup provides production from across the country.
Startups get production from indigenous regions – black rice and tea come from Assam, avocados from the northeast or south India, mangoes from the Konkan belt, pepper and turmeric and even Himalayan pink salt and morel mushrooms for products like tribal communities Works with
Sister discovered organic products
In 2015, Shriya graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Business and International Relations and returned to India. He tagged along with his sister who was exploring organic farms for her farm-to-table restaurant venture.
He along with his sister toured the fields in Maharashtra, Shimla, Bangalore.
Sharing her experience, Shriya says,
“To see the diversity of produce in the topography of India it was kind of capricious. I didn’t think that such produce could be grown in India. It’s ridiculous because we live in an agricultural country, and it’s fun that I Nothing added. It’s a really good opportunity to grow in India, growing fancy potatoes. “
This eye-opening experience inspired him to start an agribusiness that emphasizes working with our local production rather than other countries.
Why Organic Food?
Shriya visited many farms, mainly biologically in a year and a half. His interactions with indigenous farmers made him aware of the benefits of organic products. He saw how organic farming resulted in better production, better soil health, and rotation of the crop, allowing the cultivation of different types of produce.
Shriya says the startup had to invest in educating customers and creating awareness to understand the benefits of organic food. She says that the process is going on with COVID-19 which gives people better opportunities for healthy food.
According to a US Department of Agriculture report, the added benefits of organic foods gave Shriya an entry into the Indian organic food market, reaching $ 69 million in sales in 2019. The market is projected to grow 12 percent to $ 77 million in 2020. Driven by an increase in demand in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic, India is still an emerging market for organic foods and beverages with strong potential, according to the report.
“Initially, the idea of clean, local produce was very difficult not only to sell, but because we were doing only one-two deliveries a day, and my quantities were not enough to afford that transportation cost. “
The entrepreneur took time to explore and manoeuvre through the existing ecosystem and put in place procedures to ensure that it could produce as quickly as possible from all routes in Uttarakhand to Mumbai.
With an initial investment of Rs 10 lakh, Shriya launched the website in 2017. Today, he has a capital of Rs 2 crore in the business and a B2B and B2C business in Mumbai with a customer base of over 2,500.
Shriya is now working to create a support system to help farmers in training, certification process, groundwork etc. It is expected to launch in November this year.
Zama Organics also works with artisans and self-help groups from Uttarakhand that produce homemade products such as pickles, jams, oils and chocolates. They have recently started sending these long-shelf-life products to different cities as well.
During the lockdown, the startup’s B2B business stalled and revival became difficult. However, its B2C business grew so much that people started eating and cooking healthy food during the epidemic.
Initially, the lockdown affected the supply of products and out-of-state purchases stopped altogether. The startup has recently tied up with a retailer in Delhi and hopes to expand its retail footprint to other cities.
Shriya hopes to create an innovative technology-enabled company with the implementation of checks and processes to improve overall processes that will ultimately benefit not only farmers but all customers.
“We want to create an ecosystem of organic produce from farms to consumers and explore how the process of technology can enable farmers.”