All posts tagged: agriculture

5 point someone – a farmer’s take on life, work and economics

“Kaka, ek pose dijiye na photo ke liye” (Uncle, please give me a good pose for the photograph) “Suicide wala pose du kya?” (Should I give the suicide pose) The humour is dark in Vidarbha. As the temperature soars to 48 degree Celsius, farmers joke about death, depression and the shadow of unpaid debts, which comes lurking with extreme weather changes leading to a possible crop loss. Everytime, I visit our farmer groups in Vidarbha, I come back with unheard stories and turbulence in my mind. I spent last three days in Akola and it’s nearby villages, where Happy Roots along with farmers and Chetana Organics, has been working on a crop demonstration project. The heat was unbearable. The dark tanned faces of farmers with patches of red, told a story of their everyday battle with the sun and their undeterred spirit to fight for survival. This visit has raised my respect for Vidarbha farmers to a whole new level. Their view points on life, work and economics of their ecosystem made me write this blog …

How I learned from continuous consumer feedback and shaped my startup

  In this post I have written a phase wise progress of Happy Roots. How I approached one problem at a time, what went wrong and how did I start afresh. Maybe I have made mistakes on the way but I learnt some biggest lessons in business. The best being “Be close to your consumer and she will guide you through”. Phase-1: Market linkage for small poultry farmers in Vidarbha Last year same time (April 2015) Happy Roots started as a project to build market linkages for small farmers in Vidarbha. Chetana foundation (our non-profit partner), the farmers and I worked really hard for 06 months to make this happen. It was a small project but had a good scope and we attracted attention from state government too.  In September, 2015 we tested our organic, cage-free eggs with few restaurants in Pune. The product was a hit (we had some great nutritional analysis results for the eggs). Below are some snapshots of the nutritional profile of the eggs we sourced and marketed:   But soon …

Are we losing our culture and history through our food? This new year know what you eat & what comes to your plate

Food bears a different meaning for each one of us. Celebration, community, comfort, happiness, sharing, culture is some of the broader symbolization or spirit of our food. In the past several years or even since the time we grew up as adults (especially if you are a 70’s or 80’s kid) there has been a transformation in what we eat, how we eat and where we eat. While we see some noticeable and some barely noticeable changes in our food patterns, somewhere back in the areas where our food grows, probably an entire generation of food is becoming history. Did you know that as per environmentalists there were more than 100,000 varieties of rice that existed in India once, now there are only 50. This might help you visualize it better; few years back Basmati rice was a luxury in my house back in Gujarat. During festivals or celebrations, my mother would get this special bag of Basmati rice from the nearby grocery. As a middle-class household we used to find it quite expensive and hence …

My journey with the farmers of Vidarbha and how Happy Roots was born

My whirl winding journey in the so called “notorious” region of Vidarbha (Maharashtra) began after an unforeseen departure from my previous startup Krishi Star. My entry into the world of agriculture was an accident in March 2014, when my passion to work with low income communities pulled me to the dream of working with small and marginal farmers. The idea of Happy Roots was initially as messy as my desk below while I was wrecking my brains over several ideas which can potentially benefit the farmers of Vidarbha. I soon decided to take a trip across the region (Akola district to be specific) and the journey introduced me to some eye opening facts about the state of agriculture here. Vidrabha, like I mentioned before, is notorious for rising number of farmer suicides (as per data in the last decade, an average of 10 farmers commit suicide every single day). Some say that it is the endless loop of cash credit crisis the farmers’ face that forces them to end their lives while some blame it …