Online grocery delivery startup Grofers restricted delivery of fruits and vegetable for two days after supply was hit due to the ongoing farmers strike. Grofers said it also had to delist certain stock keeping units (SKUs) from the app due to unavailability in Mumbai.
“Supply was hit at not only shops but vegetable mandis as well. Since we procure our fresh vegetables directly from farmers at mandis, we also faced a crunch in Mumbai and Pune. Deliveries were restricted on 3 and 4th of June,” said Pavitra Agarwal, head of fruits and vegetable vertical, director of operations, Grofers in an email response to Media Nama.
Agarwal said that the company has looked at alternative sources and post the two days has come back to full service supplying the entire range of fruits and vegetables. Grofers also looked at alternate fruits and vegetable suppliers available locally and also started procuring directly from farmers in select areas. The company said while the cost for them increased substantially due to alternate sources of procurement, that for customers
The company said while the cost for them increased substantially due to alternate sources of procurement, for customers prices rose by 5-10% compared the preceding week. Grofers added that it saw a 27% increase in demand for fruits and vegetables from Mumbai since the strike started.
Farmers have been protesting in Maharashtra for the past eight days. Farmers have been demanding loan waiver and higher minimum price guarantee for their produce. The protest started on June 1 and on June 5 there was Maharashtra Bandh called by farmers. On Tuesday, Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, promised that it will announce a loan waiver for the farmers by October 31. It is said that 1.07 crore farmers with less than five acres of landholding would benefit from the waiver.
We have written to BigBasket, another player in fruit and vegetable delivery space and are waiting for a response. Meanwhile, Amazon spokesperson said their Amazon Now or Pantry services were not affected as they are not wholesalers or procure from them.