Are you able to think about rising wholesome, residue-free meals with out soil or coco peat? Rajasthan-based Amit Kumar and Abhay Singh — IIT Bombay graduates and good pals — made this occur in a giant means. They co-founded Eeki Meals — a sustainable farming startup that makes use of hydroponics to develop meals on a big scale.
The duo declare that their method saves 80 per cent wastage of water with a progress fee that’s 75 per cent quicker than conventional strategies. They develop meals on barren lands utilizing patented climate-proof chambers and are incomes crores, yearly.
Eeki Meals has seven acres of farms in Panipat (Haryana), Kota district (Rajasthan), and Bundi district (Rajasthan), whereas one other 33 acres of land is beneath building.
“The title ‘Eeki’ comes from the Japanese perception ‘Ikigai’ which promotes residing a wholesome and purposeful life. We work on the identical philosophy. We need to give the world a more healthy and extra sustainable means of rising meals,” tells Abhay to The Higher India.
A sustainable means of manufacturing meals
“We each had curious minds, and we labored collectively on completely different initiatives. We might keep again for hours after school to brainstorm concepts. We each had a keedha (drive) to do one thing for individuals. A significant a part of India’s inhabitants works in agriculture, so we considered doing one thing on this area,” says Amit.
Coming from a farming background, the duo determined to innovate a farming know-how that’s sustainable, inexpensive and residue-free.
“On analysis, we realised that with the rising inhabitants in our nation, we’ll face meals shortage in future. We additionally discovered that meals has misplaced nearly 45 per cent of its dietary worth. This data grew to become our driving drive — we wished to make use of know-how and make meals gadgets extra accessible and readily produced,” he says.
The duo researched numerous variants of hydroponics to develop meals and landed on one which they name medium-less farming. They obtained patent rights for his or her know-how in 2022.
“We develop meals in an empty chamber in a managed surroundings. Roots grasp within the air, irrigation occurs, and we now have our produce. We don’t use any soil or options like coco peat to develop our greens and fruits,” shares Amit.
He additional provides, “Whereas there are some ways of farming, we realised that none of them was sustainable. For instance, with natural farming — the yield isn’t very fast, and with the rising inhabitants, even when all of us shift to natural farming, the availability will run brief. Equally with coco peat-based farming — one has to interchange coco peat after each yield which makes the method costly and labour intensive.”
“However with our medium-less farming, we’re eradicating all these constraints. To interrupt the method into easy phrases — what does a plant take from the soil? Water, oxygen, vitamins and assist. So long as you present these 4 issues to the plant, it would develop and thrive. So, we take an empty room and fill it with 70 per cent humidity which is sufficient for crops to take water from. Then, we spray the roots with the required vitamins. The chambers the place we develop our crops are constructed on the identical precept. The roots grasp within the air with assist, however with none medium, and the plant grows,” he says.
“You see individuals rising cash crops in bottles with out soil, and we’ve seen lotuses that develop in water! Our know-how works alongside the identical strains,” explains Amit.
Eeki Meals has been rising greens like cucumber, tomato, eggplant, chilli, pepper, spinach, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, and coriander and fruits like musk melons and watermelons.
Speaking about why farmers can profit by switching to their methodology, Amit says, “Sikkim was the primary state that adopted natural farming fully, however then they began to face points in procuring pure manure. The strategy of natural farming may cut back the associated fee, but it surely additionally reduces the yield thereby decreasing the farmer’s earnings. Furthermore, in a soil-based farming methodology, 60–80 per cent of the water goes to waste. However with our method, the yield is quicker and prevents any form of water wastage as we save and reuse it.”
Because the meals is grown in a managed surroundings contained in the chamber, Eeki Meals can present greens and fruits regardless of their fruiting season.
“In a spot like Rajasthan, we’re rising meals the place the temperature goes from 50 levels Celsius in summers to -3 levels Celsius in winters. We wished to have the ability to develop meals beneath any circumstances, and we’re in a position to obtain that. Our methodology works on the hardest terrains,” provides Abhay.
“After we began, we had been simply trying to develop meals with none medium whereas guaranteeing much less wastage. Now that we now have achieved that, we need to deal with the affordability of this methodology. Presently, our merchandise are within the mandi (market) on the identical fee because the produce from different farming strategies. However, we need to make the know-how such that everybody ought to be capable of afford to develop meals this manner,” says Abhay.
“To develop one per cent of the required tomatoes as per our inhabitants we’d like 20,000 acres of fertile land. However with our know-how, we will produce the identical on 16,000 acres, and that too on barren land,” he says, including that they produce 13,500 kg of tomatoes on one acre of land per 30 days.
Speaking concerning the produce, Amit says, “We’ve got not but experimented with root greens like carrots, potatoes and radishes. It’s undoubtedly attainable to develop them additionally, and we’re planning to work on that quickly.”
“We began with the intention of innovating a sustainable farming methodology that can assist individuals from all walks of life dwell more healthy lives. So, we need to preserve hanging in that route and analysis extra into the sector,” concludes Amit.
To know extra, go to their official web site.
(Edited by Pranita Bhat)