LOCATION: Telangana, India

SUMMARY: Kheyti’s mission is to help smallholder farmers battle income variability through affordable technologies integrated with services. We currently offer farmers our “Greenhouse-in-a-Box”, an low-cost, modular greenhouse bundled with end-to-end support. Our vision is to help 1 million small farmers break the cycle of poverty by 2025.

PROBLEM SPACE: “Consider Reshma, a small farmer who owns 3 acres of land in Depalle Village in South India. We know Reshma personally and deeply respect her daily perseverance in a profession that is often unforgiving. Last year, half of her tomatoes were destroyed by pests. Her land lies fallow for 6 months due to excess heat. This year, an unseasonal rain affected her pepper crop. The truth is, for Reshma, hard work doesnäó»t pay.

It isn’t just Reshma’s problem. The NSSO (India) notes that 100M farmers have extreme income variability and LOSE money from agriculture alone. ASSOCHAM estimates that farmers lose Rs. 3 Lakh Crore yearly from pest attacks. A Nature study found yields dropping 10% annually due to increasing heat. In 2015, news outlets reported 8 Million farmers lost entire incomes due to one unseasonal rain. 75% of farmers (CSDS survey) want to quit farming because of this variability. Considering small farmers grow 80% of food globally, this is now part of a global food crisis. There are technologies that can protect from this crisis but they have been inaccessible to small farmers.”

SOLUTION: “Learning from 1000s of conversations with small farmers affected by this income variability, we’ve created the Greenhouse-in-a-Box (GIB), a low-cost, modular 216 m2 greenhouse bundled with services. Designed for small farmers, the GIB fits in 2% of their land, protects crops from environmental risks and grows 7x more food using 90% less water.

Our research convinces us that technology isn’t enough. Small farmers face risks at every step. This is why we work with partners to offer financing, insurance, input linkage, training, advisory and market linkage services to farmers, creating a seamless path out of poverty. Small farmers like Reshma use the GIB to earn assured incomes of $100/month, a 100% increase in average income.

Over a year, we’ve designed & tested this greenhouse product multiple times to validate the revenues, yields and costs – the promise being made. We’ve created partnerships with researchers, manufacturers, financiers, input and market players to help us execute. We have validated interest in this model by signing 15 paying farmers and building a pipeline of 50,000 farmers including 3000 who have signed up to become part of the program.

The Kheyti GIB has the power to convert any small farmer into a climate resilient smart farmer.”

UPDATE (2018):
1. Enrolled 150 paying farmers in total – 50 of which have grown at least one crop cycle using the greenhouse and are earning steady incomes.
2. Signed an agreement with Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), a joint venture between the World Bank and Government of Andhra Pradesh (our neighboring state) to launch our program with 1000 of their farmers. SERP will take care of identifying farmers, giving loans to farmers and pay for overheads of customer acquisition, training and extension.
3. Launched our first farmer orientation program to transfer all the practices from our knowledge bank to farmers actions. We have created lesson plans, handouts and videos to make the learning experience fun and effective.
4. Partnered with Top Greenhouses, an Israeli greenhouse manufacturer, for co-designing and delivering the greenhouse kit at 30% lesser cost
5. Partnered with Bank of Baroda – 2nd largest Indian public sector bank created a low-cost loan product for Kheyti’s farmers at 1/3rd of our earlier interest rates
6. Awarded a SGD $40,000 grant from DBS Foundation in Singapore
7. Awarded a $47,000 grant from Millennium Alliance (a grant program funded by Govt. of India, USAID and FICCI)
8. Co-founder, Saumya, selected as one of the top 15 “womenpreneurs” in India during Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017
9. Won first prize winner of the MassChallenge Israel Accelerator and awarded cash prize of $42K
10. Kheyti’s product evolution story is now a published case in Harvard Business Review: Product and Business Development at an AgTech Social Enterprise: Kheyti. The case is being taught at Kellogg, Stanford GSB, Duke Fuqua and many other business schools.

CONTACT: [email protected]