Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2009
Kaushalya Foundation


This profile was prepared when Kaushlendra Kumar was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Beginning with 1,000 vegetable farmers in the northeastern state of Bihar and 800 vegetable vendors in Patna, the capital city, Kaushlendra has created a complete vegetable supply chain that can directly supply branded vegetables to vendor groups in cities as far away as Delhi. His objective is to make Bihar the vegetable capital of India with small-scale farmers as the foundation.

To do this, he has created two member-owned companies, one upstream and one down. At the source and centered on the rural areas of Bihar, an independent producer company coordinates hundreds of farmers and faming clubs. Downstream, scattered vegetable vendors who once had to succumb to the pressures of intermediaries now work in a coordinated way with a marketing company that supplies branded and guaranteed-fresh produce. Both companies are coordinated by Kaushlendra and the parent organization, the Kaushalya Foundation, and because of the effective and streamlined communication between all parties, costs are kept low, uncertainties are reduced, and more profits end up in the hands of the poor farmers and vendors.

Kaushlendra has taken vegetables, once merely a highly perishable commodity and, by capturing efficiencies throughout the supply chain, significantly increased their appeal, availability, and quality. Into what was not long ago a non-viable industry, Kaushlendra has introduced professionalism, specialization, and new technologies. Particular vegetables are sourced from the regions in which they grow best and many more varieties are available fresh, cool, and daily at one-stop vendors in Patna.

Based on this successful model, the links between small rural produces and disenfranchised urban vendors are strengthened and Kaushlendra has created an economically viable space for continued innovation and improvement.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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