Bengaluru: Village Organica aims to supply healthy food to consumers
Village Organica, an idea born out of the challenges we grapple with such as health issues which have become quite severe especially in the new millennial, broadly called as lifestyle disease, and the unending woes of farmers in getting right prices for their produce
Bengaluru: Village Organica, an idea born out of the challenges we grapple with such as health issues which have become quite severe especially in the new millennial, broadly called as lifestyle disease, and the unending woes of farmers in getting right prices for their produce.
Kanchan Kumar is a techie-turned-farmer and social entrepreneur who took a break from the corporate world to bring organic food on the plate of consumers. He founded Village Organica when Covid pandemic engulfed the world, a period in which peope realised the importance of eating healthy food.
Kumar's extensive travel to remote places across India and in-depth interactions with the farmers made him realise that agriculture needs a complete revamp.
"Middlemen, inefficient supply chain, lack of cold storages and warehouses, nil value addition to the agricultural produce are the bane of farmers. Normally the end product is priced at least 2-3 times higher than what the farmers get.
To increase productivity and profits, pesticides, chemical fertilisers, cultivation of hybrid varieties became the norm rather than exception, and this brought me face to face with the issue of health. When I realized the effects of pesticides and chemical-infused food that I have been consuming for the last several years I felt shivers down my spine," Kumar said.
"Not without any reason, we the millennials especially living in large cities always complain of one or the other health issues. It starts with smaller issues like gastro problems, low immunity, persistent exhaustion, cold, fever, obesity, diabetes and cholesterol which then leads to much more fatal diseases like, cancer, etc.
There is ample research to suggest that chemical and pesticides laden foods are one of the reasons for such diseases," he said. During his visits, Kumar also witnessed that the high price of organic food keeps people from staying healthy. He, however, admitted that the prices are high since the input cost of growing organic food is high.
"There is also a mismatch in supply and demand. We need to understand that an additional Rs 1000-Rs 2000 will not add much burden to our pockets but will ensure we remain healthy. It also reduces the risk of fatal disease as we start growing older.
During the last one year I have travelled extensively in the hinterland, spending time with farmers and tribals to understand their problems and how they could be resolved. This travel also enriched me with our traditional knowledge & ayurvedic properties of different herbs, ayurveda ways of preparing food, difference between hybrid and native breed of seeds," he stated.
Kumar said health experts suggested consumption of Giloy (Amrit Bel), Moringa powder and Kadha to keep Covid-19 at bay. But these were part of the normal diet just a couple of decades ago, he said.
Speaking to The Hans India, he recollected the moment when Village Organica was conceived. "It was then we decided to do something to offer natural & organic products and at the same time ensure that the processing is done in such a way as to minimise nutrient loss. Chain of organic food products start with the seed. Many producers and sellers ignore the fact that irrespective of how good the practices are for cultivating organic products.
If the seed is hybrid the products will also be hybrid. All our oil is cold pressed to ensure minimisation of nutrient loss. Working closely with farmers, NGO and Self Help Groups (SHG) to motivate farmers to go the organic way. This not only ensures farmers get better returns but also helps them find markets easily to sell their produce. We are there to pick their produce directly from their farm," he explained.
"Our e-commerce venture is a small step to bring farmers and consumers together and bring health and nostalgia back on our plate. Our Vision is to be among the top three preferred brands for organic producers and consumer by 2025," Kumar concluded.