About a year after it opened its first outlet at Ratopul, Kathmandu, the Freshktm Agro Private Limited Saturday opened its outlet at Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur. Established in 2020, Freshktm Agro Company has been supplying fresh vegetables, collected directly from farmers, to the valley consumers.

Freshktm, which has adopted supply chain approach, has aggressively expanded its outlets in the Kathmandu Valley by encouraging the farmers of different districts to produce safe vegetables in the last 12 months. "We are encouraged to open one outlet after another in the Kathmandu Valley considering the growing flow of consumers to buy fresh vegetables. Our plan is to increase awareness among the farmers and consumers to produce and consume safe and fresh vegetables," said Sandip Adhikari, Chief Executive Officer of Freshktm.

The company that opened its first outlet at Ratopul in September 2021, had earlier added its outlets at Golfutar, Bhaisepati and Thasikhel, “We have opened the outlet to promote locally grown fresh produce. Consumers could get safe and fresh vegetables at a reasonable price at our outlets as no middlemen are involved in our supply chain, the Freshktm itself purchases farm products directly from the farmers,” he said. Different varieties of vegetables, including cauliflower, okra, capsicum, brinjal, beans, bottle gourd, capsicum, tomatoes and sponge gourd are available in the outlets.

He, however, said that even if the price of some vegetables is slightly higher than the market price, the vegetables supplied from Freshktm are safe. “We maintain the temperature right from the time we buy them from farmers and until we sell to the consumers,” he added Stating that the first-time customers hesitate to enter the store because they think it is expensive, he said that customers who come once always prefer to buy Freshktm vegetables. "Even though the Company has planned to supply safe food by purchasing directly from the farmers, now it is supplying fresh vegetables containing minimum quantity of chemical to retailers and consumers from the farmers because it will take time to encourage farmers to grow vegetables without using pesticides," Adhikari said.

Daily supply reaches 15 tonnes
According to Adhikari, their company has been supplying around 15 tonnes of vegetables a day. The company collects vegetables from Kavrepalanchowk, Dhading, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Sarlahi, Rolpa, Rukum and Bhojpur districts. "Now, about 2,000 farmers of various places are engaged with us. We are encouraging these farmers to produce safe foods," he said. In the meantime, around 500 vendors of the Kathmandu Valley are associated with Freshktm to sell the fresh vegetables supplied by the Company, he said. "We have also an aim to encourage retailers to sell fresh vegetables while maintaining temperature. Adhikari said that as the 15-tonne capacity warehouse in Bhaktapur was insufficient to store vegetables, another warehouse of the same capacity was constructed in Naikap which would come into operation soon.

Freshktm to grow safe vegetables
"Apart from this, we are going to grow different varieties of vegetables in around 30-35 bighas of land in Rautahat ourselves," he said. According to him, they have encouraged about 22 households which have never been involved in vegetable farming in Rapti Municipality-10 of Chitwan, for the production of safe vegetables. "We will provide technical support free of cost to them and monitor frequently from our technicians. This will encourage other farmers to grow vegetables," he said. The Company has been preparing to produce compost manure from the wasted vegetables, he said.