Saffron farming in the air and Koh!

Two friends growing saffron in the air, an MBA woman farmer who turned around her family farm harvesting 55 tonnes of tomatoes per acre, an IIM grad who quit her job to dehydrate vegetables, and a ship palace floating in water are part of this newsletter

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
Saffron farming in the air and Koh!

Saffron farming in the air and Koh!

Dear Reader,

As technology advances and knowledge becomes accessible with just a few clicks, the word ‘impossible’ is losing the little relevance it once had. I will quote Audrey Hepburn, who said: “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says I'm possible.” 

Two of our stories this week go on to prove it. Ladies first! Smarika Chandrakar was working in the telecom sector in Pune when she realised her father needed her help on the farm. Coming from an agrarian family, she was always interested in agriculture but did not know the time to take up the responsibility would be so soon.

She quit her job to take up farming at Charmudiya village in Chhattisgarh’s Dhamtari district. She shifted her family farm from paddy to vegetable cultivation, worked on the soil, made a marketing network and harvested 55,000 kg of tomatoes from just one acre in the last season! 

On reading the article, a reader emailed, asking me to double-check the facts. I told him that not only was the figure correct, but I refrained from writing the harvest a year before because people would not believe it -- 100 tonnes of tomatoes from just an acre. 

Smarika grows vegetables over 20 acres in all. Do read this story where an engineer-MBA woman farmer has turned around her family farm and done something considered ‘impossible’.

The other story is about two Gujarati friends who grow saffron in the air, literally! Subhash Kanetiya and Ashish Bavaliya met in college and began experimenting with aeroponics saffron farming in Hamapur village in 2022. They procured saffron bulbs from Kashmir and set up a cold room facility in an old building to grow saffron in trays. 

The duo first multiplied the bulbs to ensure good-quality mother plants. Now they have expanded the facility, sell saffron at Rs9 lakh per kg and also train rural youth in indoor saffron farming. Saffron in Gujarat is possible.  

From Telangana, we have an interesting article on the business of vegetable dehydration. In 2021, Keerthi Priya, an IIM-Calcutta graduate, started Koh! Foods to produce dehydrated vegetables. She had seen fresh produce wasted in her village when farmers did not get a good market price. 

She found the solution in vegetable dehydration. Keerthi sources raw materials from marginal farmers in Telangana, increasing their incomes by 30 percent, and sells dehydrated vegetables and powders all over India and overseas. Her brand Koh! is set to clock Rs1 crore in revenues this fiscal.

Our Sunday story is on Jahaz Mahal – the ship palace anchored in the waters of Mandu.

Our Money section piece is about retirement planning, which takes a backseat often due to other immediate goals like house purchase or children's education. It creates financial anxiety closer to the retirement age. Karan has listed five easy ways to save and invest for a secure retirement.

Happy Reading!




MBA woman farmer harvests 55,000 kg tomatoes per acre; turns around her family farm


Two Gujarati friends grow saffron in the air; sell at Rs9 lakh per kg


This IIM grad quit her job to start vegetable dehydration business; empowers farmers


Jahaz Mahal: The ship palace anchored in the waters of Mandu