1. Success Story

This young boy’s startup helps farmers cope with water scarcity in Rajasthan

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

Narayan Lal Gurjar, a 20-year old boy from a small village in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan grew up seeing farmers struggling with water scarcity in the entire state. The crisis had escalated to such an extent that there was a drop in crop production and 30% of the harvest wilted, mainly in the year 2013 and 2015. Narayan felt very bad seeing all this and decided to do something for the farmers. He wanted to make sure that crops received proper as well as regular water supply, despite inadequate rainfall in the desert region.

Consequently, in 2014, he launched ‘Eco-Friendly Water Retention Polymer’ with an aim to resolve water scarcity crisis. This innovative Udaipur-based startup is a super absorbent polymer designed to soak up water in the soil, hold it for a long time and then supply it to the crops as and when required. The product is natural, and is made to preserve the integrity of the soil.

This young boy while telling more about his startup said, “We made the product out of bio-wastes that not only prevents from soil and water pollution, but also gives high nutrition to the crops after slowly disintegrating in the soil. What we do is maximum production with the minimum use of water and fertilizers.”

Narayan further told that he started working on this scheme when his father asked him to think up a solution for the water problem in the area. In class 12, he had studied about polymers and finally, made a prototype that he tested in his family’s meadow. He added that farmers of his village were his very first customers and it wasn’t difficult to make them agree to use this product in their fields.

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The Eco-Friendly Water Retention Polymer is actually made from natural bio-waste extracts that have water absorption properties, which makes it perfect for use in such water-scarce regions. The young boy further explained that it took around 30 days to process the raw material into the final product.

He added “We charge an average of Rs 120/kg for nurseries and other areas that need water management. And this price includes processing, transport as well as taxes. For farmers, we will sell it at an average of Rs 100/kg”. At present, the startup is supplying its product to farmers, nurseries, vertical agriculturists and horticulturists in Udaipur and Rajsamand village.

Currently, Narayan is studying at College of Technology and Engineering in Udaipur, where he met the other two members of his startup. A team of 5 members now handle and manage different aspects of the business including marketing, sales and technical assistance. It operates from small rooms and is planning to expand the business due to increased demand for the product. Narayan’s college is also funding for his company’s plans to establish a factory soon.

Rajasthan government after seeing value in the product has invested Rs 1 crore in the startup, which the company will be using to set up machinery for mass production. It is also incubated and encouraged by iStart Rajasthan, the State government’s scheme to promote, support and encourage startups by giving them space and access to mentorship and investments.

To conclude, Eco-Friendly Water Retention Polymer has proved helpful to several farmers in the entire Rajasthan. According to this young CEO, by the year 2020, the company plans to hit the northwest regions in India where water shortage is harsh and expects to generate revenue worth Rs 2 crore.

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