The demand for organic vegetables and foods has increased over the years. Many people are adopting organic food, but the biggest problem is its availability. Chemicals are mixed in most of the products available in the market. There are very few platforms where organic products are available. Such platforms are difficult to identify and access. To overcome this problem, Akshay Gupta of Kanpur has taken a unique initiative.
Organic farming startup
He has launched an organic farming startup where customers can eat vegetables of their choice throughout the year on a subscription model. Not only this, but customers can also see how vegetables of their choice are being grown and mixed. At present, 90 such customers are associated with Akshay.
How did the idea of organic products come about?
Akshay Gupta, 30, lives in Kanpur. He has done B.Tech in Computer Science. He also worked for a few years. Akshay says that once I got a chance to go to the UP Investors Summit in connection with work. There I met people associated with the agriculture sector. After talking to them, my interest in agriculture grew. Then I came to know that how many chemicals are found in the vegetables we use as our food, how many negative effects it has on our health.
After this, it often started coming to Akshay’s mind that he should do some such work so that he himself can eat organic products and give them to others. After gathering information for a few years here and there, he decided that he would go into the farming sector and quit his job.
Faced many problems in the beginning
Akshay says that he has not had a far-reaching attachment to farming. His father is from a business background. Akshay continued to focus on his studies from the beginning but when he came to the field of agriculture, he had to face many problems. They had neither the understanding of the land nor the knowledge of the crops. Initially, he took one acre of land on lease and cultivated organic vegetables. However, nothing special happened to him. Most vegetables did not grow or produced very little.
Even after this, he did not change his mind. He started gathering information about farming. Chandrashekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology helped him a lot in this work. The directors of the institute, Dr. HG Prakash and Dr. Khaleel Khan told him the nuances of farming. This also benefited them and produced better next time.
Started in 2019 named ‘My Farm’
Akshay says that initially I grew vegetables for my own use, when the production was good, then made it available to the people around. People liked our vegetables very much. After this I felt that this work can be taken forward at a professional level and in the year 2019 started an Agri startup named ‘My Farm’. Initially, they used to send their products to the market, but they were not earning their money against the cost. Sometimes they even had to sell their products at very low prices.
Akshay says that when there was no good response from the market, then I set a target to reach the customers directly. I created a business model in which we used to deliver vegetables to people at their doorsteps after a monthly lump sum payment. We used to deliver vegetables to them in a certain proportion. For this, we used to charge 2500 rupees every month. This model of ours lasted for a few days, but later problems started as many times the production could not be done as much as the customers had to pay, which led to customer displeasure. Then we discontinued this model and started planning new ideas.
He says that most of the people in cities make their kitchen garden on the vacant land or terrace in front or behind their house. In which they grow vegetables of their choice and usually the production is done according to their need. Then we thought if we could create a platform where the customer has his own kitchen garden, with vegetables of his choice and whatever is produced in a few weeks or months, is his.
Each customer’s own kitchen garden
At the beginning of the year 2020, Akshay started working on this model. He talked to people around him and developed a model based on monthly subscriptions. In which each customer has his own kitchen garden in a certain area. Where vegetables of their choice are grown. Vegetables are delivered to the doorstep of the customer two days a week as per the production. Instead, a customer has to make a monthly payment of Rs 1100. There is no fixed amount that the customer has to give so much product every week or month. There is a simple concept that whatever is produced on that land will belong to that customer.
Customers will be able to monitor the kitchen garden sitting at home
Akshay says that any customer can come to the farm and monitor his kitchen garden. He can also see what vegetables are in his garden and in what condition. How are they being taken care of and how they are being grown. Along with this, they are also going to launch an app soon, with the help of which customers will be able to monitor their garden sitting at home. He says that we have completed the pilot project of this model. CCTV has also been installed on its land so that customers can watch their garden live from their own home. This platform of ours will be launched in the coming few months.
Akshay says that we are completely focusing on social media and online marketing. We have also developed our website. Through which we also do our promotion and also engage the customers. If any customer wants to avail of our service, he/she has to make an inquiry by visiting the website. He can also call us if he wants. After that our team will do a full conversation and explain the process of membership.
Earning 7 to 8 lakh rupees annually
Akshay is currently cultivating 20 bighas of land. He has taken this land on lease. Of these, 90 customers are connected from Kanpur and Lucknow. Soon they are going to start this project in other cities as well. For this, his team is planning. There are 3-4 people in the core team with him. Whereas according to the work, they keep on hiring laborers. Regarding earnings, they say that they are making good profits from this model. Right now he is earning 7 to 8 lakh rupees annually.
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