Kheyti Greenhouse-in-a-Box: Igniting the #SmartFarmerRevolution

We help small farmers battle income variability and eradicate poverty through low-cost greenhouses bundled with end-to-end services.

Photo of Kaushik K
30 18

Written by

I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Kheyti

Year founded

2015

Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 50 - 100

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • India

Headquarters location: City

Hyderabad

Location(s) of impact

India: Shamirpet

Website

http://www.kheyti.com

Facebook URL

https://www.facebook.com/KheytiFarmers/

Twitter URL

https://twitter.com/KheytiFarmers

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Consider Reshma, a small farmer growing vegetables in 3 acres land for the past 10 years. Reshma works hard on her farm but every year there is a different external factor - heat, rain, pests - that wipes out her profits. The truth is, for Reshma, hard work doesn’t pay. 100M Indian small farmers have extreme income variability and LOSE money from agriculture. 75% farmers want to quit farming because of this variability. Considering small farmers grow 80% of global food, this is now a problem that affects everyone.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Learning from 1000s of conversations with small farmers, we’ve created the Greenhouse-­in-­a-­Box (GIB), a low-cost 216 sq.m. greenhouse bundled with services. Designed for Reshma, the GIB fits in 2% of her land and protects crops from all environmental risks. The structure is covered with insect netting to reduce pests by 90% and the roof has shading to reduce heat and extend growing season. The GIB grows 7x food using 90% less water compared to traditional farming.

Technology isn't enough - smallholders face risks at every step. We work with partners to offer financing, inputs, training, advisory and market linkage services, creating a seamless path out of poverty. Farmers use the GIB to earn assured incomes of $100/month, a 100% increase in farm income using 2% of land. In 2 years, we have iterated & perfected the design, signed partnerships & proven interest by acquiring 50 paying customers. The GIB has the power to convert any small farmer into a climate resilient smart farmer.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We look at impact in three dimensions - Focus on Poor (How many of our farmers are small farmers?), Breadth of Impact (How many farmers are we reaching?) and Depth of Impact (How much additional produce and income are our farmers generating? How much water are they saving?).

We want to bring you back to Reshma. Reshma was the first beta user. Reshma works daily for just one hour on her greenhouse, uses our input & advisory services to grow 700kg of safe produce and save 150K liters of water every month. She avails our market services and makes a profit of $100/month, a 100% increase in farm income. Over the 15 year life of this greenhouse, Reshma’s family will earn $24000 of income which they can use to invest of savings, education and sanitation. Over the past 9 months we’ve added 50 small farmers like Reshma into our fold, 30 of which have already completed 1 season and are generating steady incomes monthly for their families.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Our goal is to build a sustainable and scalable model for impact. We are creating financial sustainability with two revenue streams. The first is from the one time sale of the greenhouse, an amount that is paid upfront by farmers through an affordable loan they receive from an affor bank partners. The second is a recurring yearly revenue in the form of commissions from input companies and market players for the linkages we provide to farmers. We have already validated the first revenue stream and are creating the partnerships for the second revenue stream right now.

Our current operating budget is supported 50% by this earned income and 50% by grants. Our goal is to make Kheyti 80% supported by earned income by 2019 and 100% supported by earned income by 2021.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Conventional greenhouses are too expensive and available in minimum size of 1 acre. We designed the GIB to be modular at 1/16th acre and to cost ½ as much as regular greenhouses, making it accessible to small farmers.. Product innovation is only one step. Small farmers face roadblocks at every step - our long term driver of success will be the end-to-end services that remove these roadblocks. We are the only ones offering a “one-stop-shop” solution to greenhouse farming for small farmers.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Kheyti’s team has had deep experience of working with farmers. Kaushik & Saumya conducted training programs for >10,000 farmers at B-ABLE (http://www.b-able.in), a social enterprise that trains ~100,000 people each year. Sathya & Ayush spent 5 years building Cosmos Green (http://www.cosmosgreen.org), a Agri enterprise that manages 100 hectares farms and has served 8000 farmers through advisory & market linkages. However, they were dissatisfied with the depth, scalability and sustainability of the impact. These 2 partnerships joined forces when Sathya & Kaushik met at the Acumen fellowship in 2014. The team decided to reset their understanding of the sector and hit the road to talk to more than 1000 farmers over 6 months. The idea of Kheyti was born after the farmer voices they heard unequivocally identified the problem of income variability due to climate risk as the most pressing one.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media

Evaluation results

77 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 57.9%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 35.5%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 5.3%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 1.3%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

2. Innovation

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 54.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 39%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 5.2%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 1.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Social and/or Environmental Impact

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 56%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 38.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 5.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

4. Financial sustainability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 88.9%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 25%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

5. Potential to Scale / Replicability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 64.9%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 23.4%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 11.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

6. Organizational Leadership

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 68.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 24.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 6.8%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

7. Potential for Creating Shared Value

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 65.8%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 28.9%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 5.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

30 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Kiran Rpy

Good concepts for helping and guiding the former
Am also former son I can feel the former problems
From( Karnataka )

Photo of Pamela Quino Ramos

Hola Kaushik K , interesante proyecto a favor de los pequeños agricultores.
Te invito a conocer y poder evaluar nuestra propuesta titulada Mejora del Aprovechamiento Sostenible de los Recursos Hídricos en San Pedro de Casta. 

Photo of Kaushik K

Thank you Pamela for your kind words and evaluating our work. It would be hard for me to review your project considering it's in Spanish but I'll do my best to use google translate to do that :)

Photo of Joseph Odusanya

This is really nice design Kaushik,
I use a similar device and operate on the same principles to grow root stable crops with an entirely new and formal seed system. I will like to know more about your device and see if we could actually examine the sample? Joeodus@yahoo.com; ceo@biocrops.com.ng

Photo of Reema kumar Bhatt

Congratulations for such great work keep going and achieve the best

Photo of Ravikant Ravikant

Great work. Keep it up.

Photo of Rashmi Verma

Great work ! Need of the time.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Congratulations on making greenhouses - one of the most basic instruments of any medium or large-scale farmer - available to smallholders. Particularly the self-sustaining funding model based on linkages with micro finance institutions is highly promising. Wishing you every success!

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for your kind words Jonathan! We are quite early our journey but the need that farmers have for climate risk mitigation is very clear - we have to find a solution, one way or another.

Photo of Archana Dhiman

all the best to to the team

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for your kind words Archana!

Photo of Ashutosh Srivastava

Wishing you people best of luck to achieve your objectives 100%.

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for your kind words Ashutosh!

Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

When I hear the expression we are going to eradicate poverty, I am very perplexed. We need global economic growth to fulfill this huge task. If this growth is similar to that of the last decades, it will take 100 years for poverty to disappear. And even if that were possible on a shorter timeframe, we would have to increase the size of the global economy by twelve times, which, in addition to making our planet uninhabitable, will obliterate any progress against poverty. Of course I am speaking in general, but I think this does not prevent my position. With my humble contribution, I think we should start by addressing two key issues: income inequality and endless growth. If poverty is to be overcome. must come from the reduction of the enormous inequality that has accumulated in the last two hundred and so many years. The richest 1% of mankind will soon own more than half of the world's private wealth. Only modest reductions in inequality would be necessary to make great progress in the socio-economic situation of the poorest half of humanity. The other fundamental task is for countries to adopt a healthy measure of human progress; which leads us not to the endless growth of GDP on the basis of extraction and consumption, but for the well-being of mankind and the planet as a whole. It is possible to sell poverty in a manner that respects the Earth and helps to deal with climate change. The planet is rich in wealth and its population infinitely ingenious. But to do so we must be prepared to challenge the logic of infinite growth, greed and destruction inherent in neoliberal capitalism. It is time to look at a new system, based on social justice and symbiosis with the natural world.

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for your thoughtful response Mouhamadou. You are completely right, no one organization, individual or initiative can claim to end poverty. It would require a lot of players to come together and make some systemic changes. Our focus is much narrower - we simply want to ensure that every single farmer we work with doesn't fall back into the cycle of poverty. Our vision is to do that with 1 million farmers - even that may sound far fetched. However, I think that far fetched ambition is needed if we are to slowly build the blocks that take us to a world that's different from today. Acumen, the impact investing organization has a line in their manifesto which we stand by - "have the humility to see the world as it is and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be."

Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

thank you very much for your answer and clarification, but I am sure that I understand your focus perfectly and I congratulate you immensely. We have the same goal. Know that with hard work, not only one million farmers, but millions and millions of farmers will have access to good living conditions resulting from a valuation that offers them income worthy of any citizen. I always say that I have full consciousness that I will not change the world, but I will do my part to leave you better than I found you. Good luck ahead and for anything I can be useful, know that it will be a pleasure.

Photo of Adithya Pradyumna

This sounds like a great initiative. Small farmers need this kind of support, and it is nice to see young educated people engaging with this issue. It would be good to conduct an external evaluation soon - which may help your own planning, and also help others learn critically about this intervention. May you be thoughtful and critical about your interventions, and may you then be successful!

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for your kind words Adithya! We have partnered with the research agency ICRISAT to conduct an external evaluation of our greenhouse economics and yields. Next year, our plan is to engage an external agency studying and validating the impact we are making in the lives of our farmers. Our philosophy mirrors what you said. We believe that any impact we claim to have has to be measured and backed by data.

Photo of Akshay Kumar

How do I find the evaluation questions.
Did scroll around but seem to be missing the entry point.

Photo of Kaushik K

Hello! You might have the wrong link - there is one link to the idea page and one link to the community review page. Please go to https://network.changemakers.com/challenge/creatingsharedvalue/community-review/kheyti-greenhouse-in-a-box-igniting-the-smartfarmerrevolution/ and then login or sign up first by clicking on the button on the top right corner. After you login if you scroll down, the evaluation questions will be visible above the comments section.

Photo of Raashid  Akhtar

Please concentrate in rajasthan. It really need bcoz of uncertainty of wheather

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for you comment Rashid. Our dream is to be serving farmers across India and the world one day. However, we are currently a small organization and are concentrating in Telangana right now as we perfect the concept. Rajasthan is definitely in the plan in the future.

Photo of Satyendra Tripathi

It's a beautiful step towards enrichment the life of struggling farmers and to continuous supply of food in future to our society because I am thinking that within 10 years 85% farmer will leave their farm due to Plenty' s of issues.

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for your kind words Satyendra. We believe the same thing - that it's a crisis. But it will take a lot of people to join hands to solve it.

Photo of Karthik Rallabandy

a country with a large base of small and marginal farmers with diverse landholdings, organisations like Kheyti through their expertise is helping such farmers realise profitable agriculture. all the best team Kheyti

Photo of Kaushik K

Thank you for your kind words!

Photo of Narendra Pingale

The problems faced by Farmers have been growing over the past decade and it's very important to provide innovative solutions to the Farmers.
The idea has great potential and what your team has achieved already is nothing short of amazing.
Looking forward to following Kheyti's progress in the coming periods.
All the best for all your future endeavours.

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for your kind words!

Photo of FOLO Farms Malaysia

Hello! Very encouraged by your team's extensive experience and committed efforts. We are a small urban farm FOLO Farms Malaysia that understands what you are trying to do. We have been experimenting with different greenhouse designs in the hopes of lowering the cost for other small farm holders. Would love to collaborate and contexualise your work for our farmers here.

Photo of Kaushik K

Thanks for reaching out and congratulations on the great work you are doing. Please send me a test mail on kaushik@kheyti.com so that we can continue this conversation.