Chirag Warty: Determined To Preserve Indian Traditional Science And Create A Healthy India | CEOInsights Vendor
Chirag Warty: Determined To Preserve Indian Traditional Science And Create A Healthy India

Chirag Warty: Determined To Preserve Indian Traditional Science And Create A Healthy India

 Chirag Warty,   Chief Product Officer

Chirag Warty

Chief Product Officer

Indian traditional household has always been organic and healthy. It is in the last few decades that the introduction of western inspired fast food and race to produce has adulterated the food that we consume on a daily basis. We are fascinated with tomatoes that look exactly alike, apples that are red in fairy tales and potatoes that are the size of a rugby ball. Natural food is not like this. The mother nature is not in the business of creating aesthetically beautiful vegetables. Have you ever wondered how are fruits like apples and mangoes available year round?

To preserve our science and our culture, Lucknow farmers market came into existence led y Chirag Warty, Chief Product Officer and Jyotsna kaur Habibullah, Chief Executive Officer. Chirag and Jyotsna bring along brings along with him diverse experience across multiple industries spread over several geographies. His experience foworking with different size companies all the way from startups to large cap enterprise conglomerate, that has given him a unique perspective to develop a strong, agile and highly motivated organizational structure.

In an exclusive conversation with CEO Insights, Chirag elucidates on his significant role of leadership casting light on his journey, the company and the challenges

Cast light on your professional background and experience. How has been your journey so far and what is it that drives you today?
Well, I have always been an Indian at heart, even though I have spent almost a decade in the US. Having done all my education at universities like UCLA, Cornell and Stanford gave me a global perspective to our Indian culture, food and traditions. This made me realize that indians have always been at the forefront of science and art which was somehow getting lost day by day.

In the last 10 years having worked in consulting space gave me the opportunity to work with some 500+ companies from diverse walks of life, agriculture, manufacturing, aerospace, construction, FMCG, fintech, retail, pharma, etc. But, having witnessed the widespread of myriad of health issues, contributed by COVID-19 in the last few years, I realized that there’s a lot of stress levied on healthcare. Of course, healthcare has a great feat in treating health issues, which subsequently boosted the pharmaceutical & medicinal industry, but we aspired to address it before hand undertaking the preventive health measures by opting for healthy eating concept by basically going organic & natural, and reviving our ancient Indian healthy food culture, something like our ‘dadi-nani recipes and ghar ka nuskha’ which used to be healthy & wholesome.

This journey of last two decades was very enriching and what i have realized is it has prepared me for what I am doing now. At the advent of COVID-19 we recognized that most of the people who were adversely affected by the virus were the one who did not pay attention to their daily lifestyle. The ones with a healthy lifestyle were barely feeling the effects. This told us that we as Indians need to revert to our inheritance of organic and natural lifestyle. However we as individuals of the 21st century did not have easy access to these products and traditions. The culture existed in
pockets and villages in the form of small entrepreneurs, women who worked out of their houses but did not have the means to reach out of their local area. This idea of helping smallest of the entity to grow and contribute to preservation of our science and culture led to formation of an online platform of lucknow farmers market.

Define Lucknow Farmers Market as an organization and its position in the market?
LFM came into existence to provide a platform to the first producers and ground level small entrepreneurs to expand their reach on PAN India basis. And, hence we have an online and physical presence both, across PAN India to supply completely natural and organic products. We also conduct a farmer's market across the country, periodically to help the producers, farmers and entrepreneurs physically connect with our representatives and understand our business model and come onboard online to sell their products through our platform, once they’re convinced of the idea.

we’re significantly relishing it catering to multiply vertical products with a facility to buy from our local producers present nearby the buyer’s location

Lucknow Farmers Market started as a local farmers market especially for mangoes. Today the LFM is an online platform where in it has six verticals (1) organic and natural products ranging from food, food products, jute bags, handmade soaps to lifestyle accessories.(2) farm Fresh - where in you can buy fruits, vegetables and food products directly from farmers across India.(3) Farm Stay - If you want to get out of the city and spend your time in natural habitat and experience the farm life then farm stay is for you. These farm stays are spread all over the country. (4) Local Produce - If you are looking for food that is absolutely fresh the you can order the food that is grown around you and get it delivered at your door step (5) Services - Looking for a naturopath or a yoga instructor then this is the place you can find one. (6) Knowledge Center - None of the international platforms like coursera or udemy teaches you how to live like an Indian. So this is where you can learn skills like honey bee farming, hydroponics, aquaponics and other ideas that you can do to enrich your life.

We have not lost touch with our roots. Thus we hold our physical lucknow farmers market periodically in Lucknow and across India.

From the seller perspective there are three main challenges that a farmer or entrepreneur faces (1) reaching out to the correct target audience (2) packaging and shipping the product on time (3) dealing with issues of GST and money recovery form the end user. At Lucknow farmers market we take care if all these points and some more. This helps the business to focus on their business rather than worrying about other teething issues. All the sellers undergo review from our ned before they are onboarded. This way the buyers are assured of what they are buying is organic and natural. Hence we bridge the gap between genuine sellers and well intentional buyers to make sure they have the access to the best of the quality experience.

Also, from a buyer’s perspective to provide an assurance on the quality of the products they’re buying, we create a guarantee for the products by testing it prior to listing it online. Hence, bridging this gap we ensure that both the buyer and the seller experience is very smooth. Today, we have a gamut of farmers and small entrepreneurs onboarded on our platform who sell multitude of
products ranging from organic veggies to spices, pickles, kitchen tools, garden essentials, beauty products and more.

How are you leveraging your expertise to help Lucknow Farmers Market succeed in the long run? Also, highlight your current roles and responsibilities at LFM.
Well, I am the Co-founder of the company, and I’ve architected the whole LFM platform. Ofcourse the idea has come from the CEO & Co-Founder Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah who has contributed in entrenching this complete women-led where except me all are women. The journey has been challenging reaching out to farmers and village grass root level entrepreneurs who are still very primitive and stand by the concept of selling in Mandis or through APMC markets, rather than direct selling to the consumers. They definitely did want to eliminate the middleman, as direct selling seems more profiting, but fell short of the technology know how.

Hence, we made it easier by appointing representatives across India statewide who ensured and educated them such that they had a smooth journey onboarding without having to scuffle with technology and other business & government policies like GST & more. Not only this, we’ve also taken care of their entire logistics & supplies and thus reduced the carbon footprint. Coming to my roles & responsibilities at LFM, it involves looking after the data analytics, analyzing the digital channels, organizing marketing campaigns, reviewing the feedback from the campaigns, and optimizing the customer journey accordingly.

How do you maintain the perfect balance between your personal and professional life? What is your success mantra?
I personally don't think there’s something called a perfect balance in life. There’s always a tug of war going on betwixt the two, it’s you who has to prioritise what’s important and it can be effectively done through task management rather time. So, if you manage your tasks properly your time is all automatically saved. I practice it through a 15 minutes interval and have shared it with my team too. In our office we deal with small packetized work, within fast turnaround time. Hence, one of my success mantra is ‘fail fast’, because if one fails fast in their work implementation he/she can rectify it sooner without any time wastage.

What are the opportunities you foresee with the change brought in the market behaviour?
There’s a huge opportunity from the food supply perspective, because of the farm to table concept and grow local consume local. Hence, we’re significantly relishing it catering to multiply vertical products with a facility to buy from our local producers present nearby the buyer’s location. Secondly, to create awareness about farms, rural life and the environment with our new generation, we’ve introduced a farm stage a hotel like facility at the farms where people can stay (for 10 days or so) and experience the rural life and environment like drinking fresh cow’s milk in the morning, and more.

What will be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs?
PostCOVID the whole attitude of the market and community has changed towards food consumption and lifestyle, hence my suggestion to the entrepreneurs is focus on the idea and implement it technology is there for support. Also, LFM being a business incubator is always there to help.

Chirag Warty, Chief Product Officer, Lucknow Farmers Market(LFM)
Strongly believes that, happy community is the healthy community, hence making people lead a healthy life by bringing together farmers and entrepreneurs on one single platform and supplying natural organic produces.

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