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.
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.
Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
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.
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