Karnataka-based organic dairy player Akshayakalpa Farms and Foods Pvt. Ltd. is all set to enter the markets of Pune and Mumbai in May 2023, and 50 cities of southern States in the next three months.
It recently started procurement of milk from farmers in its new processing cluster in Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu to service the Chennai market.
During the field visit, Shashi Kumar, founder and CEO, Akshayakalpa Organic, told The Hindu that new processing plants would be set up in Haveri district to tap the organic milk market in the north Karnataka region and in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh.
In Karnataka, T.N.
Akshayakalpa, which processes and sells organic milk and milk products through a network of certified farms, presently has two production clusters – one each in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
A modern technology processing plant processes organic milk and multiple other products, including organic curd, paneer, butter, ghee, cheese, buttermilk, yoghurt, batter, honey, bread, and coconut oil. The firm has an annual turnover of ₹200 crore.
In its Channarayapatna cluster, near Tiptur, the firm has 850 certified farms, where close to 11,000 cows are tagged and managed using the herd management system. The plant processes 75,000 litres of milk daily and largely caters to the market in Bengaluru.
Along with veterinarian and social entrepreneur the late G.N.S. Reddy, Mr. Kumar founded the company with the financial support of 27 technology professionals in 2010, to make farming a sustainable and economically-viable livelihood option. Currently, the company caters to over 50,000 households in three cities of Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
In drought-prone areas
The company largely works in drought-prone backward areas where farming communities exist. “We work closely with young farmers who have discontinued farming operations owing to economic non-viability. We groom them to be farmer entrepreneurs by providing bank linkages, extension outreach, technical services, and market access,” says Mr. Kumar.
The company is managed by engineers Mr. Kumar and his wife Shilpa with a team of about 800 employees, including 200 field staff and 16 veterinary doctors.
Adopting a holistic and multi-cropping method, farmers have increased their income 3-4 times for the last seven years, claim the couple. “On an average, a farmer earns close to ₹1 lakh a month. Even after all the deductions, they get around ₹40,000 in hand,” Mr. Kumar explained.
“The company pays us ₹38 per litre,” said farmer Siddalingaswamy, who owns more than a dozen cows and a 10-acre plot. He has installed a gobar gas plant and uses slurry for the farm.
Besides milk, farmers have started beekeeping, poultry farming, and growing vegetables and other crops. “We were given training for the last three years and we are seeing the real transformation now,” said farmer Girish Mudigere, who earns an average of ₹90,000 a month. He has 10 cows and four-acre land.
For bringing aspiration back to farming, the company has been promoting farm tourism. “Close to 200 farmers with their family visit the farm every week, staying overnight to understand what it takes to produce organic food,” said manager H. Manjunath.
The company currently covers villages in Tumakuru, Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka. It has raised funds ₹40 crore in 2019 and ₹117 crore in 2022 for expanding business.
Akshayakalpa takes back plastic milk sachets from consumers for recycling.