How a Father's Death Cultivated a Dream: Adithi Millets' Rise in Kurnool
Somashekar Pogula's Adithi Millets is not just an enterprise. Born from personal tragedy, it's now a beacon of hope for Kurnool's farming community.
In 2013, a personal tragedy compelled Somashekar Pogula, an MBA graduate with a corporate FMCG background, to rethink his path. Witnessing his father's painful battle with kidney ailments drove him to link unhealthy diets to a surge in life-threatening diseases. This insight, coupled with the disturbing trend of farmer suicides in India, inspired Somashekar to establish Adithi Millets in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.
A Pivotal Shift Towards Organic Farming
Recognising the harmful impact of chemically-tainted produce, Somashekar sought to return farming to its organic roots. He observed a growing trend of startups promoting organic farming but realized the concept was not novel. Historically, Indian farmers practiced organic farming, but the allure of quick results from pesticides swayed many. Through Adithi Millets, Somashekar aims to revive and restore these ancestral practices.
Scaling Heights with Adithi Millets
From a humble beginning with 30 farmers in 2017, Adithi Millets now collaborates with over 200 farmers across seven villages in Kurnool. This growth is a testament to Somashekar's vision of a holistic approach to farming and community building.
Millets, the company's core product, are not only nutritious but also economical to grow, reducing farmers' financial burdens. Adithi Millets’ “Millets to Millions” philosophy is all about propagating the benefits of this superfood to a wider audience.
Farmers partnering with Adithi Millets receive a guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP) and free seeds. The company then purchases the harvest, ensuring a consistent market for the farmers. The raw millets are processed into value-added products by local women at the factory, and these products subsequently reach consumers via platforms like Amazon at affordable rates.
Beyond Profits: Social Responsibility
Adithi Millets' commitment goes beyond profit margins. The company supports families impacted by farmer suicides, providing alternative livelihood means such as sewing machines and livestock. K Hemadri Reddy, a local farmer, shares his positive experience with Adithi Millets, where he almost doubled his revenue by adopting Somashekar’s re-cropping method.
As of 2023, the success of this synergy between business and social responsibility is evident in Adithi Millets’ impressive turnover of Rs 2 crore.
Somashekar Pogula's transformative journey from a corporate employee to spearheading Adithi Millets exemplifies the profound impact one individual can have on a community. His endeavor underscores the potential of harmonising business acumen with social welfare, proving that they can, indeed, coexist and thrive.