Concealed between the chilly Himalayan winds and bounded by mountains from all four sides, lies Marpha Village, famous for its organic juicy apples and apricots. A few years back, the whole district was not connected with the roadways. Mules, yaks and donkeys were the means of transportation. Every harvest would give sufficient fruits but there was no market to sell them. The villagers had no option than to see their yield become waste.
Amidst all the difficulties, the team from the University of Munich who had reached Marpha decided to set up a juice manufacturing center. They brought all the machinery and set up a factory which would produce organic juices from the fruits available in the village without any additives, flavors and preservatives. The product was consumed within the Mustang district.
Nishchal Hirachan, originally from Marpha, was impressed with the idea. He would bring the juices to Kathmandu and gift his friends. His friends were so intrigued with the natural flavor that they encouraged Nishchal, aged 26, to start his own venture.
“Growing up in Kathmandu, I had good networks of friends who had restaurants in different places. I consulted them if the hundred percent natural juices could attract the customers. They had tried the juice themselves and helped me boost my confidence. As a result, I started Margo Nepal Pvt. Ltd. which has been selling organic apricot juice under the brand name ‘Falfull.’ We manufacture the juice in Mustang and bring it to Kathmandu.”- Nishchal Hirachan, Co-Founder, Margo Nepal Pvt. Ltd.
Till date, 45 different restaurants serve Falfull’s Apricot juice in Kathmandu. Similarly, they own a small stall in Farmers Mart for retail sale and have online order and delivery system for any client ordering more than twelve bottles of the juice. Around 200 bottles are sold online every week. As many as twenty staffs are employed in a factory of Mustang. The juices are packed in a glass bottle. “We have set different price scheme per bottle. We make sure that there is no significant difference between our retail price, Rs. 150 per bottle and that of the restaurants. However, we only charge Rs.125 per bottle if you order online,” shares Nishchal
Confidence and Customers’ Satisfaction
Though Nishchal had to invest 30 lakh to start his business, he was confident that he would get the good result from it.
“Before starting a business, one needs to make sure that they know the core of it. I knew what it requires to produce a quality juice, prepare the bottles, transport them and find the market. I also had an idea how long the juice can remain fresh. These all factors attracted me towards the business,” adds Nishchal on a conversation with Glocal Khabar.
For Falfull team, the feedback from their customers has been very positive. In a market where adulterated food and drinks are dominating the market, the effort put by the Falfull groups in providing natural and preservatives juice is appreciated. Nishchal was optimistic about getting good reviews in the upcoming days too.
Challenges in the Business
The amount of juices manufactured by the Falfull’s depends upon the particular year’s harvest. It is not always obvious that there will be enough fruits. The climate, storm and hailstone may destroy the fruits. They have no options than to reduce the quantity they manufacture.
Similarly, the problem of transportation has become a major hurdle. Though the roads have been built, they are not in proper condition. The bumpy roads cause breakage of bottles of juices before they reach Kathmandu. Generally, apricots mature during August making it the peak time for production. But unfortunately, the heavy downpour blocks the road and the products do not reach the market on time.
“We have to face a lot of problems. Until and unless the road condition gets better, we always have to worry about bottles breakage and delay of supply,” explains Nishchal adding, “As we are expanding our products, we are thinking to establish manufacturing house in other locations than Mustang.”
Margo Nepal Pvt. Ltd and the trademark Falfull is planning to sell the juices from other seasonal fruits too. Within few years, orange, mango and apple juices will be available in different eatery in the valley. The target is to make good business in every season. They are also working to introduce unique alcoholic beverage from walnut and grapes. Plans were set to export the items but rules and regulations to monitor the transport of beverage in different countries have made the process difficult.
To the Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Youths of today should push themselves towards innovation. Sustaining your life is not difficult but you need to become committed on what you are doing. Knowing your own place and its richness is quite important. If I had become ignorant about the potential of Marpha, my story would have been different.
Startups for Better Nepal!
Presented By: Prashant Bhandari