1. Success Story

IIT Graduates are Earning Rs 80 Lakh per Month from Exotic Vegetables

Sangeeta Soni
Sangeeta Soni

Western Belt of Maharashtra, Kolhapur district is known for its jaggery, footwear, and tourist places. But along with all this, it is also famous for growing organic exotic vegetables. And the reason for that is, aquaponics and hydroponic farms that have come into a small area of 50-acre of land for growing exotic vegetables. Exotic plants including Kale, Lettuce, Pak Choi, Mushrooms and other 40 varieties are grown here and sent to other cities in the country.  

And, the most important point to note is that, natives have not changed the cropping pattern, this has been done by IIT-Bombay alumni with no farming background. And the initiative is named as LandCraft Agro.

Let us proceed to know more about this idea, and how it came up.

Starting of the Journey

The story starts from IIT-Bombay. Two friends Mayank Gupta and Lalit Jhawar were pursuing engineering at IIT. Mayank launched a start-up called Zilingo, and travelled across Southeast Asia from the year 2012 to 2018. And Lalit joined his family business in the textile and real estate industry back in 2011.

And, in early 2018, Mayank quit his job and returned home for good. He said, “I became homesick and felt the need to work in a sustainable food space in India. I discussed the idea of launching an e-commerce platform for organic and fresh vegetables with Lalit.”

Though, after some research, they realized that their venture won’t be successful. Mayank said, “We had planned to become a channel to access fresh, organic and exotic vegetables from growers and provide them to customers. But, we observed, there were very few who grew good quality organic exotic vegetables.”

Then, they both decided to grow exotic vegetables themselves and sell it. 

Location Selection

“Nashik is the vegetable capital of Maharashtra and it was difficult to understand that we cannot find a good range of exotic vegetables grown here. There is always a taboo in such varieties growing well in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and other Northern states with cool weather,” said Mayank.

After doing necessary research, they decided to set up their farm in Kolhapur, because of soil, water availability, and farmer presence there. And, the geographic location also makes it accessible to the market and can easily send their produce in the markets, mentioned Mayank. 

No Farming Experience

And, finally in April 2019, Mayank and Lalit set up LandCraft Agro in Ichalkaranji, 30 km far from Kolhapur city. LandCraft grows 40 kinds of vegetables on 20-acre hydroponics and 3-acre aquaponics farms. They trained near to 150 farmers to convert 100 acres of land into poly-houses for vegetable cultivation. And, their vegetables are sold under the brand name, Trueganic. One-year-old start—up is getting a turnover of Rs. 80 Lakh a month. But yes, entering a niche market by growing organic food was not less than a challenge. 

Mayank said, “neither of us had any experience in farming. So, in the beginning, we made mistakes, but then learnt quickly from them.”

Co-Founder’s Words

Co-founder of LandCraft Agro, Lalit said, “we accessed a lot of research work and contacted technical experts and advisers to get things straightened out, and then after we learnt how to grow organic food. Marketing and convincing customers was the biggest challenge. But, with the time, we learnt all this. And, COVID-19 pandemic helped people to make better choices and choose healthy. 

Future Plan

They said that the next step is to get farmers to sign up for the contract farming and extend the supply chain to multiple cities. 

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Source- The Better India

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