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Jehanzeb Nasir Chaudhri ’10
Jehanzeb Nasir Chaudhri ’10 is the founder and CEO of mandiexpress.pk, a fresh grocery online, available in his native Pakistan.
Chaudhri holds majors in economics and communications from the College, and a master’s in data science from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. He had no intention of going into agriculture, but working in Maui, Hawaii for three months on an organic farm learning permaculture and organic farming changed his mind. He practiced farming in his own backyard as a result, and went on a macrobiotic diet, eating only organically grown whole grains and vegetables, and he felt incredible. “I realized this is what I want to do in Pakistan,” Chaudhri said.
That’s how the idea for mandiexpress was born. According to Chaudhri, “I should create a platform where I can connect the farmer directly to the consumer, which could be done best with an IT infrastructure and data science backing it up. Through research and experience, I found that I could sell my organic produce at the Sabzi Mandi for the same rate that a conventional farmer gets.”
Local farmer earnings are meager to say the least. In fact, for every 100 rupees ($1 equals 60.8 rupees) a consumer spends on fresh produce, the farmer gets 10 to 20 rupees. The remaining amounts are distributed among the various middlemen. “This is what drove the need to start mandiexpress. From solving my initial problem, I now needed to create a marketplace so we could all sell our produce,” he said.
In an industry plagued by corruption, Chaudhri has spent the past four years building his customer base, serving as both wholesaler and retailer. He procures organic produce and sells directly to customers, who are predominantly young, working professionals between the ages of 24 and 40 years old. All orders are aggregated overnight; produce comes from the mandi (marketplace) to an in-house quality control inspection, and deliveries are made within 24 hours. “What we are trying to do,” Chaudhri explained, “is connect with the farmers and ensure a good margin for them, but seek good quality produce from them in return.”
The platform is growing, and the goal is to facilitate the entire value chain through technology, partner with all the players, and regulate the system for the long-term.