Like all initial start-ups we had a whole bunch of mistakes we made. I feel it is necessary to talk about our mistakes so that you don’t end up making the same ones! Also, to tell everyone, if you’re entering into a new arena, there are going to be mistakes! That’s how we all learn!
We had initially decided to make it for-profit venture: While its a great idea to have a for-profit food processing business, its not a very good idea to have basic agriculture/farming for-profit venture. (Not-for-profit organization does not mean that we cannot earn profits. It means we cannot distribute profits.)
There were couple of things that went wrong with the for-profit venture. First and foremost, we didn’t have a for-profit model. We had a business model, there wasn’t just enough for us to give our investors an insight into projected turnover, revenue, the valuation of their equity (or debt). Agriculture being full of inherent risks(being dependent on monsoon, vulnerable to pest attack and sudden climatic and seasonal changes) there just wasn’t enough to give a particular projection. We tried making it work but failed miserably. we could not assure them a certain percentage of return, which the investors generally expect.
Secondly, and more importantly, we came across as just another business, or even worse, people somehow got an ugly picture of corporate-farming, where we are exploiting natural resources for minting profits! The whole underlying idea of sustainable agricultural model took a back-seat!
What better way to increase awareness about farming and agriculture than to teach people grow food in their own home?
Gardening is all where it began….
Besides the hobby part of it, what gardening does is, it brings people closer to nature. The more they observe plants, the more they understand.
When people start growing food at home, may it be herbs or veges, they become aware of what a farmer is putting in. What goes into farming and how little are the farmers paid for their blood and sweat.
Its one thing for me to go out there and say “you should pay more for food produce” and its altogether different when people realize for themselves, how underpaid farmers are!
With these ideologies in place, we are here to make our contribution in field of agriculture and on agricultural fields!! 😉 😉
The waste from cowshed (cow dung and urine) becomes input for the Biogas plant.
The Biogas plant in turn produces – electricity, fuel and slurry.
The electricity generated is used for running the cowshed efficiently along with all the dairy machinery & equipment. The fuel is used for cooking. The slurry, which is the finest form of manure, is directed to the fields.
All food and fodder crops receive this excellent manure thus providing organic and clean produce.
The food crops will used for seeds, and fodder for the cattle while the surplus of food crops is sold. Thus, we follow a self-sufficient and sustainable model with zero external inputs.
Sale of milk helps us cover all other dairy costs like maintenance of the cowshed, labour, and veterinary care for the cattle.
To make agriculture project financially sound, we need two things –
Reduction in the cost of Input
More income from sales
Mitigation of losses
Lets discuss reduction in the cost of input –
The major input costs in farm are – seeds, manure & labour. We decided to bring down the cost one by one. As discussed in this post, our cost of manure is almost zero. We will try and use seeds from our own farm starting from year 2. We already discussed bringing down cost of labour in this post.
What does that leave us with?
Input cost for dairy – mainly cattle-feed. We decided to grow fodder crops for the cattle.