With one-tenth the water and pesticides required and a manifold increase in yield, greenhouses can be transformative. The catch is that their upfront investment cost puts them beyond the reach of those who need them the most—small farmers dependent on rain or borewells. But what if a minimalistic greenhouse is designed from the outset, keeping in mind the needs and limitations of small farmers?
Hyderabad-based Kheyti has partnered with manufacturing and design companies to introduce such a concept. 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. Around 500 farmers in Telangana are the early adopters of this “greenhouse in a box", which comes along with inputs like the appropriate seeds and fertilizers.
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. “Venkatesh and his wife Lakshmi were growing rice along with some vegetables on the side. They worked hard, but their annual income of ₹30,000 barely sufficed for a family of five. The biggest challenge for them was that they could not fully utilize even their 1.8 acres of land because their borewells would run dry in the summer months," says Kaushik.
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