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This HiTech Farm in Hyderabad Grows 150 Varieties of Vegetables, Herbs & Plants

Sachin Darbarwar a software engineer was born and raised in Hyderabad. He had spent nearly 18 years in New Zealand and Australia before returning to Hyderabad. Sachin tells media that “I had a very beautiful childhood in India and somewhere in my mind, I always knew I wanted to come back home. The only question was about what I would do here”.

Shikha Parewa
Organic food
Sachin Darbarwar with His Wife

Sachin Darbarwar a software engineer was born and raised in Hyderabad. He had spent nearly 18 years in New Zealand and Australia before returning to Hyderabad. Sachin tells media that “I had a very beautiful childhood in India and somewhere in my mind, I always knew I wanted to come back home. The only question was about what I would do here”. 

However, it took time for Sachin to establish Simply Fresh in Shamirpet, Hyderabad, in 2013 with wife Shweta. As its name suggests, the brand aims to provide nutritious food that does not contain chemicals and pesticides. 

It was the concept of "Talking to Plants" that drew Sachin's interest in the farm-to-fork venture. Here, all stages of plant growth were monitored, the supply of nutrients was recorded and the surrounding environment was controlled. 

In search of further ideas, Sachin began collaborating with botanists, professors and others involved in agriculture. These signals are how each plant responds to changes in the greenhouse's environment, and how it will respond to the nutrients it is supplied with. 

He says “It was during my work on the project that I realized the potential of using technology in the agriculture space. Having lived and breathed technology for so long in Australia, the idea of using it for something new fascinated me,” he says. “To be able to get better produce by marrying technology to agriculture was the thought with which we started the company in 2013”. 

In 2013, Sachin and Shweta launched Simply Fresh on about 10 acres. “When we started, it was an experiment and we wanted to see whether we could make a commercial success out of this,” adds Shweta. She speaks about how one of the attractions at supermarkets in Australia was the wonderfully fresh produce that was made available for consumers. She describes the fresh produce as ‘inviting’ and felt that the same quality was not available in India. “The idea was to be able to bring that kind of quality and freshness to the produce being sold here as well,” she says. 

When they were asked if they had any connection to the agriculture sector, Sachin said, “My grandfather was a farmer, with considerable land holdings. While my father did not go down the same path, I think it was there somewhere in my DNA.” Before the couple set up operations in India, they set up a prototype in Australia and given how well it worked there, they started their first project in India. Starting with cultivating four acres, Sachin says, “We grew almost 150 varieties of vegetables, herbs, plants, and were supplying to supermarkets, hotels, and even various corporates around Hyderabad.” 

Shweta says that they got the idea by growing 14 kinds of lettuce, 10 different types of herbs, tomato, capsicum, peppers, and various microgreens.  “We meticulously profiled each plant, from day zero to harvest and understand their nutritional requirements under various climatic conditions,” she added.  

Plants consume a total of 12 nutrients, but Sachin says the combination of these nutrients differs at different stages of growth. “In summer, just how we like to stay away from oily and greasy food, even plants have a certain preference for what they like to consume in summer months. Technology helps us understand all this and more,” he says. Further he added “We call our farms as ‘Precision’ farms as we have combined hydroponics with AI Technology for food safety, traceability, and sustainable farming.”  

He mentioned “In working with the pharmaceutical companies, we found that they needed a great level of traceability. From when it was seeded, who seeded it, what climatic conditions were prevalent at that time, who handled it, harvested it, what was the weight when it was harvested, etc. In an attempt to answer all this, we introduced a QR based system.” 

Although different companies claim to be organic, clean and fresh, Simply Fresh has introduced a QR code system that allows consumers to verify every time they buy produce. “Therefore, we have given all our customers open access to the system,” he says. Every pack that leaves the farm, comes with a QR code in the packet that allows customers to scan on the website and collect more information.

“Being able to back all the claims that the company makes is a very important part of our ecosystem. We also see many customers make use of this,” says Sachin. 

Founded in 2013 in Hyderabad by Sachin and Shweta Darbarwar, Simply Fresh is a state-of-the-art farm. The brand employs technology to measure the supply of nutrients to each plant in conjunction with hydroponics, which promises fresh, pesticide-free vegetables. 

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