Meet Gabriel - a farmer- who not very long ago had to travel miles over difficult, hilly terrain to reach the nearest weekly markets, often returning with unsold produce that would eventually go waste. Thanks to Zizira, Gabriel’s indigenous produce now reaches a global marketplace that consumes as much as he can produce. This wonderful opportunity has transformed the modest farming community from India’s far-flung corner by empowering them with a global reach and consumer base. This is the story of how the Shillong-based Amazon Seller, Zizira, became an online hit with their fresh, local produce sourced from Meghalaya’s grassroots—the farmers.
Selling like hot peppers
A journey that began with a handful of local farmers near Shillong, has today been joined by over 100 farmers from across India’s north east region. The young Zizira team, manned by the energetic Ibanshara Shullai, has a vision. They aim to take the unique agricultural produce from the North East to the borderless world of online shoppers. Beginning with a few tried and tested products like the famed Naga chilli or ghost chilli pepper, bhut jolokia, Lakhdong turmeric and wildflower honey, today Zizira’s gourmet grocery shelves have swelled with many more products. Their hard work, meanwhile, has been benefiting the lives and livelihoods of farmers from the region by connecting them directly with their consumers—sans any agricultural intermediaries.
“We want to become a role model, not only for Meghalaya, but for the rest of North East India.”
Beginning from scratch
The team has seen a steady rise in sales over the years. The tem says they have clocked an impressive growth in the last fiscal year compared to when they started in 2015. The going had not always been smooth for Zizira, however. The team had initially set up an online store on their own that did not work out. Having tasted failure early in their journey, the team today is more determined than ever to make their business a success. Shares Ibanshara, “We launched our own portal, 'The Zizira Store', which was not successful. That's when we reached out to Amazon.”
Advantage: local rural economy
Pepper longum is one of Zizira’s top selling products. Other top sellers are the super-hot bhoot jolokia, the Khasi black sticky rice, and Lakhdong turmeric power. Thanks to Zizira and Amazon, indigenous produce from farmers like Gabriel have found an international marketplace. Team Zizira builds strong relationships with local farmers, who are more than a sourcing community for the organisation. It is the empathy and dedication with which they work that sets them apart from other online sellers of gourmet food products.