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Dairy start-up MoooFarm to launch online milk sales as expansion

Dairy sector start-up MoooFarm plans to provide full-stack service for cattle growers by soon launching services to sell milk online, besides expanding its operations.

“We are planning to help dairy farmers sell their milk through our online platform. We launched a pilot project in Punjab’s Nabha district a month ago and plan to continue it for another two months. Once we are ready, we will launch it full scale and extend it to Rajasthan,” said Abhijeet Mittal, Chief Growth Officer (CGO), MoooFarm.

The Gurgaon-based tech start-up has roped in corporate companies such as Hindustan Unilever Ltd to purchase the milk offered by farmers online. “We will collect the milk in the vicinity of HUL. The benefit is that it will get quality milk as we have total control over the cattle, from the herd to nutrition to everything,” said Mittal.

Making dairy profitable

MoooFarm, which won Start-up India’s Animal Husbandry Grand Challenge in 2020, is a niche platform working for the economic development of dairy farmers. “Our mission is to make dairy farming profitable. We primarily provide three services to the farmers — advisory (veterinary) services, quality feed and cattle and financial services,” the company’s CGO said.

The start-up, which won the World Bank Agri-Insure Tech Challenge in 2019 by coming up with India’s first cattle facial recognition, currently provides its cattle and feed services in Rajasthan and Punjab.

It plans to expand its cattle services to Punjab while expanding to Maharashtra as well. Tracing the growth of the start-up, Mittal said it all began when the company took note of a dearth of qualified veterinarians in the country after deciding to tackle the problem of dairy farmers.

Costly affair

“Getting a veterinarian is a costly affair. There are a lot of problems that the farmers are facing in getting good veterinarians. So, we decided to solve it by launching advisory services,” Mittal said.

There is a lack of availability of qualified good veterinarians in rural areas and even good regional areas have only one or two government veterinarian hospitals .  “That’s when we decided to launch our service. Just by getting good advisory service e-Dairy Mitra, we can help to improve farmers’ profits,” he said.

The service has got a good response with MoooFarm building an app around it with veterinarians located centrally to provide solutions to the farmers at a low cost of ₹25 in some areas. In some places, we are offering this free,” Mittal said.

Trickly cattle purchase

The app providing the service, currently restricted to farmers using the feed or cattle service only, was getting 50,000 to one lakh downloads every month. So far, there are 15-18 lakh farmers connected to the app. “On a daily basis, 400-500 farmers access it,” he said.

MoooFarm, launched in 2019, then decided to tackle the issue of dairy farmers not getting quality cattle. “Dairy farmers are like micro-entrepreneurs and cattle is an asset. There are many problems in the ecosystem and many farmers don’t know where to buy cattle,” the company’s CGO said.

In the process of purchasing cattle, farmers get cheated by middlemen, who do not provide any guarantee for the brokerage they charge. “We decided we will take this problem head-on and directly connect the buyer to the seller in 2020. Then, we ourselves started procuring cattle and selling it directly to farmers as we found a lot of quality control is required for acquiring the high ticket asset. In 2021, we began our inventory model and we are scaling it currently,” he said.

Platform for cows

MoooFarm has so far traded in over 2,000 cattle on its own. It has about 200 as part of its standing inventory. These cattle are housed across nine farms in Rajasthan. The company plans to start another farm in Punjab next month.

Till now, MoooFarm has been trading in buffaloes only but it will soon launch a platform for cows too. “We have launched an event with Progressive Dairy Farmers Association in Punjab and we are exclusive partners with the association. We will deal with Holstein Friesian and partly with Jersey cows too. Jersey will make up 30 per cent and the rest will be Holstein Friesian,” Mittal said.

All these led the company to start a feed service to ensure the cattle get the right nutrition. MoooFarm is contract-manufacturing the feed to ensure the cattle get correct and good nutrition.

Feed issues

“Currently, feed quality is a question According to government standards, urea content in the feed should be less than 1 per cent. We are stringent on these parameters. Secondly, aflatoxin should be below 20 ppm. We ensure it is way below the norm,” Mittal said.

Aflatoxin is unhealthy for humans and once it finds its way into the milk consumed by humans, it can cause problems. “We are preparing our feed in such a way that it is high quality for the animals, increases fat and milk, but at the same time it will be nutritious and healthy for humans,” he said, adding that the company offers post-sales support as well.

Feed production will soon top 1,000 tonnes a month and it is a significant milestone since the service was floated only a few months ago. Some 8,000-10,000 farmers are utilising the feed services in Punjab and Rajasthan, Mittal said.

Other services

Apart from these, MoooFarm provides credit and insurance services to farmers who want to buy inputs such as cattle and feed from it. “We are bundling everything and that’s where our edge is. We are providing a full-stack solution. We handhold farmers till the end in all aspects of dairy farming,” he said.

Two months ago, MoooFarm raised $13 million through its series led by Avishkar Capital and supported by Axel India Fund, Alteria Capital Group and other such venture capital funds.

In the current fiscal, the company hopes its revenue will be ₹115-120 crore and it aims to increase it to ₹320-400 crore next fiscal.

MoooFarm would want to establish itself in the northern Indian market before looking at southern India, particularly Telangana and Karnataka.

Mittal said though India tops in global milk production, the yield per cattle is poor compared to Australia, the US, New Zealand, Israel and other such countries where the average yield is 25-30 litres.  “We are trying to induct quality cattle and redistribution of hybrid ones so that the per animal yield will increase,” he said, adding that with growing disposable income prospects for value-added products in milk are good.

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