This Entrepreneur Helps Farmers See 3x the Returns for Their Produce

Let’s try to imagine something for a moment...

“Imagine that the pack of potato chips you bought from the store was actually manufactured by the same farmer who grew it.”

This is Vinay Kothari’s vision and the reason he founded GO DESi.

Vinay Kothari, founder of GO DESi

Vinay Kothari, founder of GO DESi

Vinay has 10+ years of experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, working in sales, distribution and marketing. His interests in farming, food processing and supply chain technology led him to question the traditional farmer-to-consumer supply chain India in which farmers see less than 10% of the price consumers pay for their food products.

Vinay’s company, GO DESi, is an Indian confectionery brand that sells candies and treats inspired by regional flavors in Indian cuisine. All of GO DESi’s products are sourced, packaged and branded by the farmers who grow them.

With Vinay’s model, the farmers receive 30% of the price consumers pay for their products, as opposed to only 10%. GO DESi has set up five micro-units to meet the consumer demand, generating employment opportunities in some of India’s poorest communities.

Vinay was selected to participate in Upaya’s Accelerator Program as part of our 2018 agribusiness cohort. Our team in India had the pleasure of visiting GO DESi in Bangalore and meeting some of the farmers who produce GO DESi’s delicious candies.

Vinay Kothari (left) showing Upaya's Vinay Kumar (right) one of GO DESi's micro units.

Vinay Kothari (left) showing Upaya's Vinay Kumar (right) one of GO DESi's micro units.

In an interview with Vinay, we asked him about how GO DESi came to be and his vision for the company in the future.

Q: Explain the social issues GO DESi is addressing.

A: "The farmers' share of the retail price paid by consumers is lower than 10%. This is primarily because of multiple intermediaries; however, these intermediaries play an important role to aggregate, convert the produce into useful products and make it available to the end consumer.

We through our brand, GO DESi, envision moving the conversion of the raw material into end products back to the farmgate. By doing so, we increase the realization of the farmer by 3x, we increase the shelf life, and we also enable the creation of economic centers which generate employment in rural areas."

Q: How did you become so passionate about this issue?

A: "During my travels, I have seen amazing products made by farmers from their leftover produce for their own consumption. Every region in India has such products, all these products are natural, and do not use any preservatives. These products were lost in the hinterland and they literally begged to be taken to urban markets."

Q: What has been your GO DESi's biggest accomplishment to date?

A: "Our biggest accomplishment was to see [the growth of] one of our micro entrepreneurs, Sumitha. Sumitha is a single mom who started with us from her home, making Iollipops by herself. Within 3 months, she was employing 5 other women. Her commitment and ownership of the product that she was manufacturing was a treat to watch."

Q: What is your vision for your company?

A: "We aim to be the slingshot for 10,000 micro enterprises, enabling them to scale.
We want to lead the movement where food is manufactured at the source."

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GO DESi is an Indian confectionery brand inspired by the regional flavors of Indian cuisine. All of GO DESi's products are sourced, packaged and branded at the farm gate with the aim of increasing incomes and employment opportunities for marginal farmers so they can own a larger, more sustainable share in the food value chain.