Sachin Darbarwar, a software engineer, was born and raised in Hyderabad. He spent nearly 18 years in New Zealand and Australia before returning to Hyderabad.
It was the concept of "Talking to Plants" that drew Sachin's interest in the farm-to-fork venture. Here, all stages of plant growth were monitored, the supply of nutrients was recorded and the surrounding environment was controlled. In search of further ideas, Sachin began collaborating with botanists, professors and others involved in agriculture. These signals are how each plant responds to changes in the greenhouse's environment, and how it will respond to the nutrients it is supplied with.
He says “It was during my work on the project that I realized the potential of using technology in the agriculture space. Having lived and breathed technology for so long in Australia, the idea of using it for something new fascinated me,” he says. “To be able to get better produce by marrying technology to agriculture was the thought with which we started the company in 2013”.
In 2013, Sachin and Shweta launched Simply Fresh on about 10 acres. “When we started, it was an experiment and we wanted to see whether we could make a commercial success out of this,” adds Shweta. She speaks about how one of the attractions at supermarkets in Australia was the wonderfully fresh produce that was made available for consumers. She describes the fresh produce as ‘inviting’ and felt that the same quality was not available in India. “The idea was to be able to bring that kind of quality and freshness to the produce being sold here as well,” she says.
Sachin said, “My grandfather was a farmer, with considerable landholdings. While my father did not go down the same path, I think it was there somewhere in my DNA.” Before the couple set up operations in India, they set up a prototype in Australia, and given how well it worked there, they started their first project in India. Starting with cultivating four acres, Sachin says, “We grew almost 150 varieties of vegetables, herbs, plants, and were supplying to supermarkets, hotels, and even various corporates around Hyderabad.”
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