Starting A Food Business That Makes A Difference To Farmers
A few days ago, I shared a note with the Zizira team on Yammer, an internal communication platform, with my insights and musings on Zizira. I laid bare my thoughts, on where we are now, the challenges we are facing and the hopes. Interested to know what was in that note? Read on.
Struggles & Obstacles – like those of farmers’
Pioneering a food business that makes a difference to farmers is proving to be more challenging than what I expected. We made progress, but we have a long way to go. I think Zizira is in the same situation as farmers. It is hard – we must struggle and overcome obstacles to make a profit. Perhaps it is harder for farmers.
Looks challenging, but farmers will reap the potential of this land
The roads are rough and the terrain is hilly so it is hard for the farmers to get their produce to the market. Some villages are only accessible by foot. Many farmers still grow in traditional ways. They typically have small plots of land where they grow enough potatoes, rice and vegetables, to meet their personal needs. They hope to get their crops to the market before spoiling, and when they do, they may not get a decent price.
Their future seems bleak, but the reality is different! The future is full of hope and opportunities. The region has a vast potential. The air is fresh and the water is pure and plentiful. The hills create micro climate zones perfect for growing exotic, cool-weather, high value, crops. Farmers will one day reap this abundant potential.
Our dream is to succeed together with our farmers, yet success is elusive. We are discovering that it is not easy - creating, selling and shipping. And, it is hard to wow customers. Some customers are not happy because of shipping delays and damaged products. Some don’t like our products.
We are working hard to create high-quality products that they enjoy, but if our prices are too high they will buy from our competitors. This means we also need to create products that others can’t easily duplicate. We believe that using quality ingredients processed in a caring way is a winning formula.
Our vision is strong. Our team is committed to this vision so they come to work every day with a purpose. We are doing the right things, but Zizira is yet to take off.
We Honor Diligent Work
We consider ourselves co-labors with farmers. We honor diligent work. We believe that we can make a difference by dignifying farming, and, recognizing and rewarding responsible farmers so that they become role models for other farmers.
We will strive to unlock the potential of family farms in Meghalaya by creating awareness and making their crops available to urban India via our products. We are succeeding in creating awareness.
We are building a movement
The agriculture potential of Meghalaya is becoming known. Newspaper articles and videos are Making Farmers Famous. Visitors to Zizira.com are contacting us for information. We are succeeding at building a movement but now we have to succeed at making a profit.
Mantra for making a profit?
To achieve this, i.e. for us to make a profit, Zizira needs to make our customers love our products and buy them again and again. We must keep the cost of making these products low so that we can make money. We must become Amazon experts – social media experts. We must maintain the utmost quality. We can’t have any weak links in the chain. We will get fanatical about selling and serving customers. We can do it! we will do it.