In a farming region outside of Hyderabad, India, the nonprofit Kheyti is using a “Greenhouse-in-a-box” solution to build climate resilience and income stability among India’s smallholder farmers.
Founded in 2015, the organization’s founders spent thousands of hours speaking to Indian farmers to understand the issues they faced. “When we bucket [the problems],” explains Sathya Raghu Mokkapati, one of Kheyti’s co-founders to Food Tank, “there are two broad challenges: climate-based risks like heat, rain, [and] pests, and… distribution based risks like poor linkages to inputs, finance, knowledge, and markets.”
Kheyti’s greenhouse program aims to target both issues. “We did many experiments in open field farming to get stable yield and income but we failed because of many external factors like pests and diseases,” explains Mokkapati to Food Tank. This led Kheyti to focus their efforts on making greenhouse agriculture accessible to smallholder farmers.
Kheyti is currently testing out the model with a group of 50 farmers in Telangana. “The pilot group has shown very good results,” says Mokkapati. “[Farmers were able to] grow seven times more food using 90 percent less water when compared to traditional farming.” The greenhouse also provides natural protection from pests and extreme weather which requires farmers to use fewer inputs like pesticides and fertilizers. This helps farmers become more resilient to an increasingly unstable climate and allows them to cut down on input costs while increasing their yields.