Kerala

A start-up to tap into a newfound craze in urban farming

Ashwin Ramachandran, Nithin Kumar, Parvathy Sasikumar, and Akhila Ramdas, the founders of PlantMe Agro Solutions Pvt Ltd.  

A Kochi-based start-up has set out to tap the urban population’s newfound interest in kitchen gardens and urban farms and increased awareness about nutritious food to build immunity in the wake of the pandemic.

PlantMe Agro Solutions Private Limited aims at promoting hydroponics-based sustainable urban farming. Founded by four entrepreneurs a year ago, the technology-driven agri start-up offers a whole bouquet of state-of-the-art gardening solutions, high quality seeds, and semi-grown resilient plants.

The start-up facilitates kitchen gardens both for maximum yields in limited space and farming across larger space. The home kits ranging between ₹2,900 and ₹16,900 comprise high-quality seeds, nutrient solutions, TDS (Total Dissolved Salt) meter, along with hydroponic training.

“We are also providing a buy-back facility for customers who have excess produce. It is currently available only in Kochi but will be launched in other cities in Kerala soon. It also reduces the carbon footprint by curtailing long-distance transportation of produce,” said Ashwin Ramachandran, co-founder and CEO.

The NFT system involves circulating nutrient-rich water through food-grade UPVC pipes for a richer yield and is best suited for leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and mint and other exotic vegetables. It recycles the water facilitating water conservation while also avoiding the formation of salt deposits near the roots.

“The solutions at PlantMe Agro Solutions Private Limited were developed with the help of technology and rigorous research, to allow the average city farmer to optimise their yield,” said Nithin Kumar, co-founder and COO.

PlantMe’s polyhouse facilitates improved air circulation and ventilation, which, they claim, is ideal for growing fruity vegetables, thus helping farmers to replace tin-foil roofs with a better alternative to protect their crops from excess heat, cold, and pests invasions.

“For years, we have been suffering because of an unbalanced lifestyle and lack of quality resources within our reach. This search for balance took us back to our roots” says Parvathy Sasikumar, co-founder of PlantMe.

The start-up is also associating with NGOs for inculcating farming enthusiasm among children as a welcome diversion from the virtual world during the pandemic by bringing out kits specifically designed for them. An initiative involving 55 children from Don Bosco Kochi during the lockdown has proved to be a success.

Akhila Ramdas, an M.Tech in Computer Science, is another co-founder. The start-up offers training in operating their NFT systems besides round-the-clock customer support. The products are available at www.plantmeagro.com and delivered across India.


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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 11:46:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/a-start-up-to-tap-into-a-newfound-craze-in-urban-farming/article36710654.ece

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