Impressed with Two Brother Organic Farms taking agriculture produce from Indian villages to 53 countries, Bollywood star Akshay Kumar and former India International cricket Virender Sehwag have contributed to its pre-Series A funding. 

These two stars are among those who have contributed to the ₹14.5 crore pre-Series A funding of Two Brothers Organic Farm (TBOF) that is functioning from Bhodani village, some 150 km from Pune. 

One of the unique features of Two Brothers Organic Farm is that it is offering 48 products from various Indian villages to 53 countries across the globe.  

B2C company

“We operate from a village only. Our main production plants are also in a village only,” says Satyajit Hange, co-founder of TBOF, which was launched as a brand five years ago.

Primarily a business-to-consumer firm, the organic farm company is currently working with 1,000 farmers  across 16 States and two Union Territories. “We have trained 16,000 farmers in total,” said the co-founder who started the firm nine years ago along with his brother Ajinkya.

One of the leading producers of organic products, TBOF owns a 32-acre farm in Bhodani certified by Ecocert, a global organic certification organisation. Its products are certified by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, the nodal agency for organic farming certification in India. 

The company, which plans to raise Series A funding in the next 3-4 months, works with tribal farmers in Andhra’s Araku Valley where they grow Arabica coffee. It has also joined hands with tribal farmers in and around Mumbai and in the Western Ghats, where indigenous varieties of rice are grown.  

70% direct website sales

“We have just started working with some farmers in Jammu and Kashmir to grow saffron without chemicals. Then we have farmers in Goa where we make coconut-based jaggery, jaggery powder and virgin coconut oil and wood-pressed coconut oil,” Hange said.

At least 70 per cent of TBOF sales, which is nearly ₹2.8 crore a month, come from its website. Another 15 per cent comes from the Amazon website and the rest through offline stores. Currently, the company has an offline store in Mumbai but it is not looking to open similar stores now. “We have 2 lakh customers across 53 countries but these people are primarily from India.  We have never advertised any of our stuff outside of India. Through word of mouth, we have got customers,” the company’s co-founder said. 

TBOF, which sells fruits, horticulture crops, millets, grains, and dairy products, plans to expand its direct-to-consumer (D2C) business in India. “We are planning to grow our D2C business to eliminate all kinds of middlemen, even if it is Amazon or Flipkart,” Hange, who ventured into organic farming along with his brother quitting banking jobs, said. 

Value-adding produce

The company, whose A2 ghee is a popular product, is mainly a business-to-consumer firm and it does business-to-business (B2B) only in Dubai. On the B2B front, it is trying to tie up with some big organic multinationals such as Whole Foods and expand in the US and Europe. “We don’t sell our organic products as fresh produce. We value-add them. So we have a range of pickings on offer, groundnut oil, wood, ghee, jaggery powder, liquid jaggery and such stuff,” he said. 

Two Brothers Organic Farm processing 8,000 litres of milk daily from around 6,000 indigenous cows. It processes 100 tonnes of wheat and groundnut a month, 10 tonnes of millets a month, 50 tonnes of coconut and 15 tonnes of mangoes. “Each of our 48 products requires a specific raw material. We process close to 5,000 tonnes of sugar cane a year to make jaggery powder and liquid jaggery,” Hange said. 

Changing marketing strategy

“Our idea is to help farmers produce food without any chemicals and without depleting the soil fertility and ensuring the soil conserves more water,” he said. 

TBOF wants to increase the number of farmers cultivating organic produce and ensure there is more rural employment. “Our third objective is to ensure more consumers get access to healthy organic food,” said the company’s cofounder, who began it all by following Elaine Ingham from Rodale Research Institute.

Two Brothers Organic Farm’s entry into the market was interesting as they first produced organic papaya. Traders at agricultural produce marketing committee yards offered them half the price of a grower who cultivated the plant using chemicals. This was despite the fruit tasting like jaggery. It was then the Hanges decided to change their marketing strategy.

Farm relationship managers

“We started selling to vendors, then began providing Star Bazaar in malls. Then, we realised that fresh fruit has its own limitations. You require a cold chain and storage. So our milk became ghee, our sugarcane became jaggery, groundnuts became groundnut oil and so on,” he said.   

The company has farm relationship managers (FRMs) who visit the farms once a fortnight to handhold growers from the sowing to harvest stage. These FRMs make at least 24 farm visits annually.

Though Ecocert carried out inspections, TBOF ensures that processes are followed duly and has a traceability system from the seed state to the harvest, Hange said.