1. Success Story

Earn 55000 Monthly Right After Graduation with Hydroponics; This Tirupati Boy Tells How

Right after graduation, as his peers went to look for career opportunities in Tier-1 cities, or sat for competitive exams, Sandeep Kannan turned to hydroponics farming, a relatively new concept in his hometown, Tirupati. Here’s how he’s reaping success through his startup, Vyavasayi Bhoomi.

Ayushi Raina
Tirupati-based Sandeep Kannan
Tirupati-based Sandeep Kannan

When Tirupati-based Sandeep Kannan graduated from college in 2020, most of his friends and classmates were considering to migrate out of town to pursue career opportunities in Tier-I cities. Some others wished to take competitive tests in order to obtain government positions.

"I was one of them, and I began studying for civil service exams. Later, I began to question why a person like myself, who comes from an agricultural family, would seek a different vocation," he recounts.

"When the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were enforced, I had more time to think about it," he adds. As a result, I started examining polyhouse farming methods. I studied books, watched videos, and conducted extensive research."

However, his research led him to another agricultural technology that he found more appealing – It was hydroponics. "I was drawn to the technique since it was a less-explored technique in Tirupati. I decided to give it a go myself," he adds.

Small Beginnings:

The potential to produce nutritious food without soil in a contained environment is what intrigued the 23-year-old to hydroponics. "Unlike traditional agricultural methods, hydroponics does not require the use of strong pesticides since the crop is less likely to be contaminated," he says.

Sandeep spent three months on his terrace cultivating lush vegetables and lettuce. "I purchased PVC pipes, drilled holes as necessary, and delivered essential fertilizers via water. My first harvest occurred in November," he recalls.

Meanwhile, his father was afflicted with diabetes. "The doctors advised him to eat fresh, chemical-free foods in his diet. With small-scale success now under my belt, I decided to scale up the initiative," he says.

Sandeep borrowed money from his mother and two brothers to establish a hydroponics farm on a half-acre plot of land in Thanapalli. He founded Vyavasayi Bhoomi, a company that sells spinach, red amaranth, basil, kale, pak choi (Chinese cabbage), lettuce, and broccoli.

"I started small, with only a few vegetable varieties, because I wasn't sure if the Tirupathi market would embrace the approach. Hydroponic vegetables are in great demand in cities such as Bengaluru and Chennai, but the situation in small villages is different. I began delivering supplies to marketplaces, supermarkets, and residential neighbourhoods," he explains.

Sandeep states that as the months passed, he noticed an increase in acceptability. "I am generating Rs.54000 in sales every month, which will escalate to Rs.2 lakh in the next months. At the moment, 70% of my produce is sold at supermarkets, which charge exorbitant commissions, eliminating the majority of my profit margins," he explains.

Sandeep has also begun to reach out to customers directly through home delivery in order to take out the middlemen.

Humble Background:

"Raising capital was a major challenge, "Sandeep recalls of the complications. While my family had loaned me the money, it was tough to persuade them and offer them assurance that their money would not be wasted."

Another challenge, he says, was finding a market for hydroponic farm produce. "The theory is very new to locals, and there is little awareness. With no big rivals, I was unsure whether the enterprise could succeed. "There were numerous lessons learned as I ramped up the business," he explains.

Sandeep is relieved that the risk ended in his favour and that business has picked up. "I intend to offer my produce in Tier I cities such as Chennai and Bengaluru in order to build new markets," he says.

"It makes me very proud that as the son of a farmer, I was able to explore and achieve success in the field. More young farmers should explore agriculture as a career path rather than traditional business and government positions," he concludes.

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