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These women entrepreneurs are helping revolutionise farming practices with their agritech startups

From supporting organic farmers, practising soilless farming, and leveraging IoT to provide seamless storage facilities, these women entrepreneurs are strengthening the agritech sector with their startups.

These women entrepreneurs are helping revolutionise farming practices with their agritech startups

Saturday January 09, 2021 , 3 min Read

The bustling startup ecosystem has not missed out on innovating in agricultural practices. After all, the country is known for its agrarian economy with 70 percent of population engaged in farming activities. 

Not only is agritech being recognised as a promising market, but adoption of technology in agriculture is helping solve several challenges across the spectrum of the traditional agriculture value chain. This presents a market potential of $ 24 billion by 2025, according to the report, Agritech - Towards Transforming Indian Agriculture.

HerStory presents five women entrepreneurs who are setting the trend in various aspects of the agritech market.

Anisha Goel and Shruti Jain

When Anisha Goel returned to India from Paris in 2015, finding healthy greens and berries was a challenge. Hailing from a family involved in businesses of bio-pesticides, organic farming, and indoor horticulture, she was aware of the loopholes in organic certifications and the lack of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). 

In October 2019, Anisha teamed up with Shruti Jain and Abhishek Dalal and founded Kaze Living, a direct-to-consumer brand that offers curated selection of fresh and pesticide-free food to the doorstep. The startup works with hydroponic farms, a soilless farming practice where plants are grown in water rich in minerals and nutrients.

Based in Delhi NCR, the agritech startup has witnessed 40 percent month-on-month growth since its official launch in January 2020. 

Agritech startup

(From L to R clockwise) Srishti Mandaar, Co-founder of Red Otter Farms; Shriya Naheta, Founder of Zama Organics; Kalyani Shinde, Founder of Godaam Innovations; Anisha Goel and Shruti Jain, co-founders of Kaze Living.

Shriya Naheta

Shriya Naheta chanced upon an entrepreneurial idea when her sister was on the lookout for organic farms to supply to her farm-to-table restaurant. A business and international relations graduate from the University of Southern California, the wide variety of organic produce in the country prompted her to start Zama Organics in 2017. 

Working with over 50,000 farmers across India, the first-time entrepreneur has created a marketplace for organic produce including fruits and vegetables, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds, and spices and condiments, among other things. She also works with self-help groups and local artisans to produce homemade products like pickles, jams, oils, and chocolates.

The Mumbai-based startup operates on both B2B and B2C models. Started with an initial investment of Rs 10 lakh, Shriya now manages capital worth Rs 2 crore. 

Srishti Mandaar

Srishti Mandaar who holds a master’s in development communication from Delhi University founded Red Otter Farms, along with co-founder Anubhav Das three years ago. Based in Delhi and Nainital, the startup specialises in Aquaponics, a sustainable agricultural practice that involves raising fish and other aquatic life form to feed their discharge to the plant. 

It was after six to 12 months of research and adapting the techniques to Indian farms that Red Otter Farms started its commercial operations in October 2018. 

Operating on a dual model of B2B and B2C, it offers chemical-free and organic local vegetables to markets in Delhi-NCR, and Ramnagar, Uttarakhand.

Kalyani Shinde

Kalyani Shinde started Godaam Innovations to help onion farmers who suffer losses due to storage even before their produce reaches the market. Cultivation of onion takes 120 days and is followed by a storage period of six to eight months in the warehouses and this is when 40 to 50 percent of the crop gets spoilt. 

Founded in 2018, Mumbai-based agritech startup Godaam Innovations leverages IoT to detect gases emitted from spoilt onions in warehouses, collect real-time data, and alert the farmers. 

Incubated at Digital Impact Square led by thr Tata Consultancy Services Foundation, the startup has partnered with government organisations like Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research (DOGR), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). 

Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan