A greenhouse in a box for small farmers

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        But what if a minimalistic greenhouse is designed from the outset keeping in mind the needs and limitations of small farmers? Its modular greenhouse kit including a drip irrigation system occupies just a tenth of an acre and costs less than ₹1 lakh.

        That’s much smaller and cheaper than normal greenhouses which only large farmers can afford. It began on a 1.8-acre farm in Narayanpur village 60km north of Hyderabad in 2017 recalls Kaushik K. co-founder and CEO of Kheyti. Kheyti had set up an R&D farm on the outskirts of Hyderabad to demonstrate its greenhouse to small farmers. When we explained that for the greenhouse he would run his borewell pump for only five minutes compared to an hour’s running time for his open field he was ready to sign up ” says Kaushik.

        It’s from such interactions that Kheyti’s greenhouse designs evolved. Now even lower-cost versions are out thanks to the farmer interactions. The greenhouse came with a motor and a tank but when farmers asked if their existing borewell pump could be used the Kheyti team again put on their design hats. Kheyti’s focus on small farmers has attracted the interest of US-based impact investment firm Acumen. “We know a lot of startups who say they will improve farmers’ income and all that. We chose to back Kheyti because they are very committed to small farmer income going up and that is also our core thesis.” The idea of Kheyti formed after a six-month stint of meeting farmers in Telangana Karnataka and Maharashtra. The question then arose if Kheyti could itself raise funds and give loans to its farmers. “That’s a very tough model because then you keep putting more and more money just to make Kheyti loan it out ” says Yagnaraman. The third plank of the Kheyti model after greenhouse design and loan access is market linkage. This gives farmers the facility of having the vegetables they grow picked up from their farms saving time and costs. “Vegetable farming in greenhouses was new to me when I joined Kheyti two years


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