Shailendra Dhakad and Rajesh Sagitla are two enterprising twenty something from the village of Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh. Living in an area where farming is the predominant occupation, Shailendra was privy to the tricks of the trade alongside his studies at the IPS Academy in Indore from where he earned a Bachelors of Science is Biotechnology. Organic farming was on a rise and seeing the opportunity, he got together with Rajesh to start up Carmel Organics Private Ltd.
“Both of us belonged to the farmers' community and this business seemed interesting from the day we thought about it,” Shailendra recalls of a time in January 2012. The duo read up a lot about organic farming and set out on a journey to develop organic farms, educating farmers to take up the organic way of farming and help get a certification for these farmers. They were enterprising enough to know that exporting would fetch them more returns and hence along with catering to the local market, Carmel Organics also focused on the international market in US and Europe.
Generating revenues of around 1.5 crores annually, this team of works from their office in Neemuch where they also have a warehouse. “Along with the agri-farms, we are more focused herbs from forests like Amla, Ashwagandha, Tulsi, etc.,” says Shailendra. Carmel Organics is more a quality assurance filter - they buy directly from the collectors based around all the forests in various parts of the country, process it to check for quality and then they sell the produce.
“We are young and handling a business for the first time but it looks like we’ve hit a sweet spot and it’s a business which is good for everyone,” confesses Shailendra. Firmly grounded, the duo understands that they need to keep improving and hence have a keen eye on developments in their sector. “We strive to have a good understanding about the different herbs and difference between them, their qualities, geographies, markets, sourcing etc.,” says Shailendra.
They took a risk and suffered some losses initially but they learnt quickly and the effort paid off. Their families have also been supportive which goes a long way to ease out things for an entrepreneur. A 2013 report by FiBL and IFOAM suggests that 11 lakh ha produce was organic in 2013 which grew from 4.32 lakh in 2006-07. The domestic consumption itself is pegged to grow to INR 6000 by 2015 which is only 1% of the global market. Carmel Organics finds itself in a good place and careful steps from here can see them grow into a prominent player in the space.
Website: Carmel Organics