Selvakumar Varadarajan of Layman Agro Ventures Private Limited is trying to build a business with the farmer at the centre of it all. Since the better paying consumers for farm produce are at the urban centres, his company connects the farmers with the hotels, residential apartments and other such buyers at urban locations.

Selvakumar’s idea was part of the Jagrit Yatra programme- an initiative aimed at giving a platform to young entrepreneurs from all parts of India- especially the rural areas- to come up with solutions to resolve the country’s most pressing problems. His idea also won him the Sustainable Enterprise Award.

Traditionally, when the farmer sells his produce at the local market, or mandi, it is the middleman who often pockets the biggest chunk of profit. The middlemen are an integral part of the agricultural mandis across the country. Selvakumar’s initiative helps the urban economy directly connect with the farmers, thus eliminating the chain of middlemen from the entire process. Companies can now pay a higher price for the farmers’ produce. Layman Agro also buys the input needed for the farmers from urban centres at prices that are lower than what each individual farmer has to pay.

With this farmer-centric model to boost the rural economy, Selvakumar also employs rural youth for his venture which further gives an impetus to the job market outside the urban centres.

Selvakumar was part of the delegation of youth entrepreneurs from Jagriti Yatra that recently called on President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, commemorating 10 years of the initiative.

Watch the video below to hear Selvakumar’s story in his own words: