I ndia needs to tap a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of modernising its infrastructure. However, seldom has the 'go green' theory been put into practice. Now there is a ray of hope with Hyderabad-based Likitha Bhanu’s, 27, co-founder of Terra Greens (TG), a farm-to-table organic farm enterprise. Bhanu talks about her concept and how she conceived it, “As a bio-technology graduate, I aspired to make a career in the field of renewable energy and sustainable living. While the rest of my batchmates chose a conventional career path, I preferred to take my chances in organic farming.”
Through Terra Greens, she tries to reach out to people who want to live a healthy life and value cleaner environment. She firmly believes in innovation and updating technology, “Our organisation is working on grains that are easy-to-cook, something that existed in ancient India.” She is bringing together certified organic farmers from across India. As of now, the list comprises 2000 certified organic farmers who strictly sow organic cereals, pulses and other products. “Our certified organic produce is grown on soil that has been declared free of prohibited substances for three years prior to the harvest to ensure that the crops are not contaminated.'
Terra Greens produces about 92 products, including fruits, vegetables, oils, honey... The farmers only grow organic produce as they give them a buy-back guarantee and also provide them with training. She says, “We ensure that the farmer is always benefitted for doing organic farming. With organic cultivation practices, the farmlands regain lost nutrients over the time, and that becomes a self sufficient system for both flora and fauna."
No wonder that Bhanu's effort was recognised. Terra Greens was awarded the fastest growing company in the sustainability sector in India by the International Achievers Conference. She was also awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs. Bhanu is hopeful of popularising the organic produce in metros after she has a fair share in markets of tier II cities.
Talking about the future, she says, “To expand our farm-to-table organic food market, we are in the process of adding 8,000 farmers to our existing network of 2,000 certified organic farmers by the end of 2016.”
With a team of 25 full-time employees, 150 daily-wage workers and 3000 farmers, the enterprise is strong on numbers. Taking farmers’ interest into consideration, the young entrepreneur explains, “We train them in organic farming. Also, we give them a premium over market price for their produce, thus giving them a chance to live a better life.
Her family has supported her throughout in her journey. “Everybody around me has been very supportive and appreciative of the efforts I have been putting in. They are glad that they can eat food that they trust.” She says that the mission of her venture is to consistently pursue a goal with the farmers’ community she has engaged.
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