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STARTUP 14: An engineer who took up dairying with a mission

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By Mohammed Shafeeq

Hyderabad, Dec 12 (IANS) When Kishore Indukuri, an alumni of IIT Kharagpur and University of Massachusetts, returned home to Hyderabad after a six-year stint at Intel Corporation in the US, he decided to work with a mission to provide pure unadulterated milk to families around him.

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Starting from a small dairy farm in 2013 on the outskirts of Hyderabad, supplying milk to a few families, today Kishore is leading a 100-plus strong team at Sid’s Farm, serving 15,000 households daily and benefiting over 1,500 farmers.

Sid’s Farm started with a herd of 20 cattle and began supplying milk directly to the customers in Hyderabad.

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“I wanted to do agriculture. I was always interested in agriculture. People suggested that dairy farming could be a good option. When we went to the market to sell the milk, we were getting little money for the produce. Then we decided to sell the milk directly to the customers,” Kishore, Founder and Managing Director of Sid’s Farm, told IANS.

The startup slowly brought tech into its operations and launched an app to sell milk. Today, the company has 250 delivery partners and serves about 15,000 customers, selling 22,000 litres of milk daily.

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Spread over 4 acres of land, Sid’s Farm has a 4,000 sq ft milk processing facility along with a model dairy farm with a total of 100 cows and buffaloes. In addition to its own dairy farm, Sid’s Farm also works with a network of 1,500 farmers who produce pure milk for Sid’s Farm.

“Each litre of milk procured goes through rigorous testing to check for antibiotics, hormones and preservatives before chilling and pasteurisation. Today our state-of-the-art laboratory conducts over 2,000 tests daily to look for any adulteration in milk,” said Kishore, who plans to expand to other cities.

He proudly says that Sid’s Farm is selling pure milk, free from antibiotics, hormones and preservatives. He believes that by paying good prices for their produce, farmers can be motivated to deliver quality.

After earning his Bachelor’s degree from IIT Kharagpur, Kishore moved to the US to secure a Masters and Ph.D. in Polymer Science & Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.

He then started his corporate career at Intel Corporation in Chandler, Arizona, working in various roles as quality and reliability engineer, senior process engineer and senior materials engineer for around six years.

Startups in agriculture and allied sectors are making their mark in Hyderabad, which is fast emerging as a key hub for startups in the country.

While the state has witnessed emergence of several startups in sectors like healthcare, edutech, fintech, electric vehicle, software as a service (SaaS), logistics, internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain etc. during the last few years, the startups in agriculture and allies are also attracting attention.

Some of the technologies developed by deep tech startups are also being used for agriculture operations. For instance, drones designed and assembled by Marut Drones can be deployed in the agriculture sector.

“We have drones for a variety of applications. Our agricopters help in easing the process of farming with less labour and time consumption with Agri automation and Agri intelligence. Agri automation helps for labour shortage and farmer’s health through precision spraying, direct seeding, input application, and pollination. Agri intelligence helps in farming through growth monitoring of crops, soil management, nutrient management, pest management, and yield estimates,” Prem Kumar Vislawath, Founder and Chief Innovator of Marut Drones, told IANS.

The Seedcopter of Marut Drones helps in reforestation. It can be used for aerial survey and mapping, community seed ball activity, aerial seeding of seed balls, and post-planting monitoring and data hub creation.

The Telangana IT, Electronics and Communication Department and the Forest Department have signed an agreement with Marut Drones to launch a drone-based afforestation project named ‘Hara Bahara’.

The drone company will plant over 50 lakh trees in over 12,000 hectares of land in forest areas across all the 33 districts of the state.

To foster innovation in the agriculture sector, the state government in August this year launched AgHub, an innovation hub for agriculture at the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University (PJTSAU) in Hyderabad.

Set up with the help of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), AgHub will support agritech startups through innovation, incubation, and acceleration.

NABARD has granted Rs 10 crore for this incubator, which would be run with the help of a team of agribusiness industry management professionals.

Structured in the hub and spoke model, the hub will cater to students as well as entrepreneurs at national and even global level.

According to PJTSAU Vice Chancellor V. Praveen Rao, there will be spokes at the district level to cater to Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), women self-help groups, and rural innovators.

AgHub would also support promotion of rural entrepreneurship for building agribusiness enterprises promoted by rural youth, women, farmers, and FPOs etc. These rural innovation centres would cater to the capacity building of FPOs and building FPO-led enterprises for building up crop value chains in select key crops of the state.

The facility is to keep the doors of the AgHub open for all, especially farmers and rural innovators, to provide them a platform to showcase their inventions for the benefit of scores of their fellow farmers.

–IANS

ms/arm

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