Exotic Fruits and Fermented Fodder

A US-returned electrical engineer growing exotic fruits in Tamil Nadu, a 32-year-old saree entrepreneur, a fodder entrepreneur empowering tribal farmers of Odisha and Delhi's centuries-old stepwells or baolis are all part of our newsletter this week

Rashmi Pratap
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Exotic Fruits and Fermented Fodder

Exotic Fruits and Fermented Fodder

Dear Reader,

Most successful startups today have one thing in common – they are solving the problems of others. From food delivery and house cleaning services to providing ready-to-eat healthy foods, the Indian startup ecosystem is coming up with innovative products and services every day.

In Odisha’s tribal hinterland, Bimal Lakra, who belongs to the Oram tribe, saw two problems. One, the tribal farmers in the Sundarnagar district grew paddy and vegetables to earn a meager Rs 20,000 per year. Two, Odisha’s dairy farmers were struggling due to the unavailability of dry fodder and silage (fermented green fodder), which they procured at high rates from other states.

Bimal decided to organize tribal farmers to produce maize. His startup Gangpur Ventures turns this maize into silage, and sells it to dairy owners, writes my colleague Niroj. Now the annual earnings of farmers have gone up to Rs 3 lakh and dairy farm owners can procure silage at Rs6.50 per kg against Rs11 they paid for bringing it from other states.

In three years of launch, Gangpur is set to clock Rs2 crore in revenues this fiscal. For FY25, it is slated to cross Rs5 crore while empowering tribal farmers.

The other very interesting piece was written by my colleague Chandhini last week. She spoke to Varkey George, who studied electrical engineering at the University of Texas in the USA, worked with Texas Instruments for six years and is now cultivating exotic fruits in Theni, Tamil Nadu, over 170 acres.

He grows passion fruit, Meyer lemon, avocados, dragon fruit, grapefruit, longan and other fruits and earns over Rs4 lakh per acre. He sells the produce to supermarkets and wholesalers. What prompted him to start exotic fruit cultivation and his farming strategies are all part of the story. Do look it up. You will be convinced that engineers make brilliant farmers as well!

My colleague Bilal spoke to Jaipur-based Prachi Seksaria, who launched her slow fashion brand Moora in May 2022 and now clocks over Rs10 lakh in monthly revenues. Using eco-friendly fabrics and natural dyes, Moora sarees are made by traditional hand-block printing artisans in Bagru, Rajasthan.

She started with an investment of Rs2 lakh in 2022. With her startup, 32-year-old Prachi is making artisanal products available to urban women at reasonable prices, empowering the artisans and helping keep alive a centuries-old craft.

Our Sunday story has been put together by my colleague Riya. She has written about five stepwells or baolis which supplied water to the historic city of Delhi for centuries. The oldest of them is a 10th-century structure built by Anangpal II, the great-grandfather of King Prithviraj Chauhan.

In the Money section, my colleague Karan has given five tips to bid for a bank auction property. Banks will auction over 4,100 residential properties across India in the next 30 days to recover their dues from defaulters. It is the right opportunity for buyers to acquire good properties at an attractive price.

Happy Reading!




Tribal entrepreneur builds Rs2 crore maize fodder business in 3 years, empowers small farmers in Odisha


Engineer quits US job to cultivate exotic fruits in TN, earns four times more per acre than traditional fruits


With Rs 2 lakh investment, Jaipur woman handcrafts Rs 1.2 crore saree business in 2 years