The Agtech start-up UrbanKisaan will help us take up farming in our own balconies
With 'organic' being the current trend, there is no time like the present to start growing vegetables in your own backyard. And balconies and rooftops too. Sounds like fun, right? Sigh! If only it wasn't so messy or time consuming. But UrbanKisaan has proved that it doesn't have to be. With the help of hydroponics, it takes minimum time, space and effort to be an urban farmer today.
"Imagine plucking your own tomatoes and using them right away," says Vihari Kanukollu , the Co-founder and CEO of UrbanKisaan, painting a rosy picture of #OrganicGoals for us. Talking about the product, Kanukollu tells us that there are two models - one where you produce just for your needs and another, where you can produce for the needs of a third-party.
Hydroponics is a technique of cultivation where plants are grown without soil, using a water and nutrient mixture alone. It gives hope for cultivation in barren lands and urban areas as well
Yes, for those of you with green thumbs and entrepreneurial blood flowing through your veins, this start-up offers to kickstart your own business of selling the excess produce that you grow. "You invest Rs 10,000, which is the minimum, and you get a kit through which you can produce up to 6 kg of greens in ten days," says the Hyderabad-based CEO, breaking it down for us.
UrbanKisaan empowers people to grow their own fresh and organic food sustainably at home, leveraging technology and the hydroponic technique
Vihari Kanukollu, co-founder and CEO, UrbanKisaan
The next step is that they buy back the produce, rebrand it and sell it to local supermarkets. The produce available in the market will be given a QR code which brings the history of the product right to your fingertips, thanks to Blockchain technology. They have already partnered with Womenergy, a club of women entrepreneurs.
UrbanKisaan offers an app as well, which keeps you engaged with the plants and offers cultivation advice, reminds you when to harvest your plants and even offers customer support. It basically hand-holds you through the entire process and makes sure you are not in the dark at any point.
In the Hydroponics technique, the roots of the plants are directly exposed to water, which is mixed with minerals and nutrients. The plant is supported by perlite or other such material
Kanukollu aims to launch these kits by the end of the month in five cities namely Hyderabad, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Bengaluru, but in phases. Once the first 1,000 are sold, they will close orders (That's your cue to grab 'em quickly!). "We want to see how this will work out, stay ahead of the learning curve and standardise procedures if need be," says the 24-year-old. And if you see this as a sign of self-doubt, don't. On board this venture is Dr Sai Ram, a scientist who developed the nutrient solution and is a proponent of the technique. So, they know what they're doing. The other co-founders of UrbanKisaan are Srinivas Chaganty, who is also the CTO, chief scientist Dr Sai Ram and Dr Hari, the company's CMO and Siva Prasad, the COO.
With an 18-member team, an office in Ameerpet and a warehouse in Kukatpally, UrbanKisaan is raring to go to make our lives more organic.
First glimpse: The hydroponics yield, on an average, is at least ten times more than soil-based farming
For more information, click on urbankisaan.com