Aloe Vera and Saffron on the terrace

A vehicle repair business owner turned saffron farmer, an aloe vera millionaire, a mother-son duo popularising renewable energy among farmers, and an entrepreneur taking jackfruit from farm to fork through vegan products are all part of this newsletter

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
Aloe Vera and Saffron on the terrace

Dear Reader, 

Jackfruit is a much-loved vegetable as well as fruit. It is eaten as a vegetable when raw, or semi-ripe, and as a fruit when ripe. In Bihar, jackfruit or Kathal is an essential part of almost every celebratory meal and in Bengal, it is called gaach patha meaning ‘tree goat’ possibly because of a taste similar to meat. 

Down south, the humble jackfruit is the state fruit (not vegetable) of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Yet, India wastes jackfruit worth over Rs 2000 crore annually due to a lack of post-harvest processing facilities. Aman Chhabra discovered this statistic during COVID-19 and converted his love for kathal into a farm-to-fork business that could reduce food wastage.

His startup Kathalfy, launched last year, sells ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat vegan jackfruit products across India and overseas, writes my colleague Riya. How he built the business of jackfruit kebabs, curries, pancakes and chocolates is detailed in the story. Do look it up!

Riya also wrote about Shobha Chanchlani and Vimal Panjwani, the mother-son duo, who have empowered scores of farmers and rural households through their agri-tech startup AgriVijay in the last four years.  

The country’s first renewable energy marketplace, AgriVijay helps farmers become energy independent by reducing usage of fossil fuels like diesel and increasing their savings while mitigating climate change. They clocked Rs2.5 crore in revenues last fiscal and are growing rapidly.

Last week, I spoke to Hrushikesh Dhane, who worked part-time while studying after class 10 to pay for his education. From a rural marketing staff of local companies in Satara, Maharashtra, to a farmer-entrepreneur earning Rs 1 crore from aloe vera, Hrushikesh has come a long way. 

He converted his family’s infertile land to a flourishing farm in the drought-prone area, began manufacturing various types of organic manures (starting under an old banyan tree on his land) and now also processes aloe vera to make biofertilisers and biopesticides. His total annual income is over Rs1.5 crore. Hrushikesh’s story underlines that cultivating medicinal plants like aloe vera is a profitable proposition, especially in areas with scanty rainfall.

The other interesting story from last week is from Pune. Gautam Rathod began indoor saffron farming in 2021 after he had to shut down his vehicle repairs business due to cancer. He uses aeroponics to cultivate saffron without soil on his terrace and sells it directly to customers at an average of Rs 6 lakh per kg. But what gives him more happiness is training others in indoor saffron farming!

Our Sunday story is on Anayadikuthu, Kerala’s unexplored waterfall ideal for a forest bath.

In the Money section, my colleague Karan has given investment tips as Sensex topped 80,000 last Wednesday. The new high calls for a change in investment strategy and is a clear signal for equity investors to rebalance their portfolios. Look up this story to know more.

Happy reading!





Entrepreneur reinvents jackfruit with vegan ready-to-eat products


Mother-son duo's renewable energy marketplace empowers farmers, clocks Rs 2.5 crore annual revenue


How this farmer earns Rs 1 crore a year from aloe vera farming in drought-prone Satara


Pune man grows saffron on terrace, sells at Rs 6 lakh per kg


Anayadikuthu: Kerala’s unexplored waterfall ideal for a forest bath