“I am a farmer by birth, and agriculture is part of my life. Even during my academic years, I spent time in the fields helping my father grow traditional vegetables,” says Pravin Patel from Vadodara, Gujarat.

Pravin pursued his commencement in commerce, spending weekends on the farm. “From irrigating the farms to riding bullocks for ploughing, I have done it all,” he tells The Better India.

So when he obtained employment with a non-public telecom firm, the work didn’t give him a lot satisfaction, he says. He has since give up his job, and what he’s doing as a substitute has proved profitable for not simply him, but additionally hundreds of farmers in Gujarat.

Grooming progressive farmers

Net safety shed, patented expertise by Brio Hydroponics.

“I worked between 2007 and 2011 as a senior accountant with the firm, but the thought of agriculture remained at the back of my mind,” he remembers.

Pravin says that he stored pondering of concepts on how he may convey enchancment within the agriculture area. “The traditional farmer is under constant pressure to produce more output from minimum resources. The weather and increasing production costs make agriculture a risky occupation,” he explains.

He then tried to run a sequence of companies associated to agriculture. “I tried multiple businesses related to polyhouse and others for about two years. But they failed to take off,” Pravin says.

With the hopes of success diminishing, he got here throughout the idea of hydroponics farming via the web. “I explored the concept and learned that the technique of soilless farming was lucrative and offered high returns. Moreover, it reduced risks posed by erratic weather and reduced the labour work to grow vegetables,” he says.

Pravin provides, “The concept is innovative as it has many cost and health benefits. Farmers do not need to use toxic chemical fertilisers and insecticides to grow food, which reduces production costs while benefiting the environment as well as the end consumer. I found that it could be a game-changer in the agriculture field. It was a more controlled farming method.”

He says, “Farming is a laborious job and not as attractive as other white-collar professions. But such innovative practices offer opportunities to farmers to evolve as an agripreneur and help multiply returns.”

Pravin experimented with the farming method on his 0.25-acre land. “Every positive feature of this method that experts had talked about online turned out to be true. So I decided to scale up,” he provides.

Brio Hydroponics earn lakhs
Net safety shed, patented expertise by Brio Hydroponics.

In 2014, he shaped a farmer producer firm Brio Hydroponics to develop meals utilizing hydroponics, and determined to assist farmers do the identical.

“Hydroponic farming is financially demanding, and very few farmers have the capacity to invest huge sums for the setup, find a market for their farm produce, and allow the turnaround time to churn profits,” he says.

Pravin says his focus has been to introduce workable and economically viable revolutionary options. “Such methods can only disrupt the agriculture sector and bring the required positive impact on farmer livelihood in India,” he says.

He provides, “We derived high-tech patented technologies such as rain protection, wire rope type and a triple layer net house, conceived by collaborating with Pic-Plant Ltd, Israel. It enables high yield with superior quality produce across all seasons.”

Pravin ultimately began reaching out to farmers and conducting workshops and coaching programmes on hydroponics. He additionally roped in his brother-in-law for the enterprise.

“The training is conducted at multiple levels, which range from one day to week-long workshops. The cost differs accordingly,” he says.

“By 2017, I convinced significant farmers to take up hydroponics farming commercially. I helped them arrange funds and loans from the financial institutions,” he says.

Pravin says that up to now, he has educated and helped 16,000 farmers take up hydroponics farming, bearing them constructive outcomes.

Brio Hydroponics earn lakhs
Bhavik’s hydroponic setup.

Bhavik Patel, one of many farmers from Gujarat, says, “I had come across the concept of aquaponics during my trip to the USA a few years ago. But it did not have a widespread presence in my region. So I continued practising traditional agriculture, growing wheat, corn and gram.”

So when Bhavik realized about Pravin’s hydroponic startup, he rushed to undertake the method. “I underwent a week-long training to understand and learn the concepts of hydroponics. I started from a small plot by investing Rs 50 lakh growing lettuce, romaine, basil and other types of exotic vegetables which have helped me recover the investments and increase profits up to 35 per cent,” he provides.

Bhavik says, like every other enterprise, he confronted hurdles in finishing the executive course of, searching for authorities permissions, and streamlining the infrastructure and different formalities. “However, the business is working smoothly, as all of my products are highly demanded by five-star hotels, traders, and commercial markets,” he provides.

Collectively, the FPO rakes an annual income of Rs 10 crore, he notes. The firm has additionally arrange mass scale tasks for giants resembling Adani, Dainik Bhaskar, and others.

“We also conduct agro-tourism during monsoon months, which helps increase the revenue,” Pravin says.

The firm plans to introduce blueberry farming via hydroponics for the primary time in India, making this unique fruit extra accessible within the Indian market at 50 per cent much less value. “The project has already started, and the blueberries will be available by the end of this harvest season,” he says.

Edited by Divya Sethu


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