Pesticide-Free Food no Longer a Luxury

Letcetra Agritech

2. Zero Hunger 3. Good Health and Well-Being 6. Clean Water and Sanitation 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 15. Life on Land

Overview

Letcetra Agritech is an organization involved in hi-tech vertical hydroponics indoor farming which produce top quality pesticide-free vegetables. It is India’s first hi-tech vertical hydroponics indoor farm. The company is into production of exotic vegetables, and provides services to people who want to develop urban farming practices. The advantage of hydroponically grown vegetables as explained by the founder are, it is pesticide free, no requirement of soil, 85% less water consumption as it is recycled through the system, lower land is required, lower nutrition requirements, pollution free with the fully controlled system, reduce the risk of plant dying etc.With an experience of over 12 years in IT sector, Mr. Harish joined letcetra as a business partner. Having a vast experience in It sector and technology, he thought it would be a good idea to use his expertise into a field which need innovation. Prior to his joining the company was already performing hydroponics based system to grow plants indoor. To bring new idea while understanding the pain and barriers for urban farming. The company came across the idea of “Aeroponics”. It is process of growing crops in the air or mist environment without the use of soil. The whole process is dependent upon automation and computerisation.

India had many outdoor farms which were practicing urban farming. But the idea of Hi-tech indoor farming made the company a huge success. They showed how farming can be done even on a small piece of land without using pesticides and with less water consumption. The company has kept innovating in the field of agriculture finding new ways of Hi-tech farming to make farming easy and doable for all. Letcetra apart from doing cultivation, it also provide services to clients in field of hi-tech farming.

Authors

Pratish Prabhudessai

Pratish Prabhudessai

Shubham Prabhu Dessai

Shubham Prabhu Dessai

Sukanya Bhatt

Sukanya Bhatt

Prasad Mukhedkar

Prasad Mukhedkar

Vaishnavi Duggal

Vaishnavi Duggal

Neeraj Rajani

Neeraj Rajani

School

Goa Institute of Management

Goa Institute of Management

Professor

DIVYA SINGHAL

DIVYA SINGHAL

Innovation

With an experience of over 12 years in IT sector, Mr. Harish joined letcetra as a business partner. Having a vast experience in It sector and technology, he thought it would be a good idea to use his expertise into a field which need innovation. Prior to his joining the company was already performing hydroponics based system to grow plants indoor. To bring new idea while understanding the pain and barriers for urban farming. The company came across the idea of “Aeroponics”. It is process of growing crops in the air or mist environment without the use of soil. The whole process is dependent upon automation and computerisation.

India had many outdoor farms which were practicing urban farming. But the idea of Hi-tech indoor farming made the company a huge success. They showed how farming can be done even on a small piece of land without using pesticides and with less water consumption. The company has kept innovating in the field of agriculture finding new ways of Hi-tech farming to make farming easy and doable for all. Letcetra apart from doing cultivation, it also provide services to clients in field of hi-tech farming.

Pesticide-Free Food no Longer a Luxury

Inspiration

Letcetra, the technology led agricultural organisation, was the brainchild of the founder, Ajay Naik, who being an epicure, got this inspiration from the degrading quality of food. When he looked deeper into the matter, he realised that the problem was in the production, that is in the agricultural practices itself. He realised that in order to derive higher yield and consequently higher profits the debt-ridden, poor farmers made excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides. This way he identified the problem area.

To curb the same, he then decided to venture into hydroponics, which is a subset of hydroculture. It is a technique that completely eliminates the role of soil in the cultivation, rather using minimal use of nutrient-solvent or mineral-rich water which can be recycled as well. As it includes the required nutrients, we completely get away with the use of chemicals; further the water is also saved hence, we are able to achieve maximum SDG’s in agricultural practice. The founder was further joined by Harish Usgaonker, a 3.5 years IT experienced, driven with the purpose of creating a social impact, whom we could get to interview. They worked together and achieved some milestone successes such as launching an online app to achieve the concept of ‘farm2phone’.

Overall impact

Letcetra, one of the pioneers into the Agri-tech business, has set the ball rolling as since its inception in 2016 it has encouraged and brought quite a few players into the agri-tech business. On the social- welfare front, Letcetra has touched many peoples lives. There is an increased awareness among both the farmers and the consumers. People now want to make conscious and healthy lifestyle choices whereas the suppliers too want to make their agricultural practices efficient and beyond just profitability.

The organisation was initially achieving only 3 out of 17 SDGs whereas, presently the organisation is working tirelessly to achieve its aim of adopting 11 SDGs in the near future. So the firm is taking some concrete steps towards sustainability. Economically and financially as well the organisation is performing well due to slightly premium rates in the growing market. They aim to change the future of farming in India and give it a new perspective and a path to proceed further.

Business benefit

The initial small start-up which started over a few acres has now expanded over more than 3000 square meter land. Recently, they launched their app in order to meet the ‘farm2phone’ objective. They also recently won a huge project in Mumbai which will add up to their profitability. The firm touched the annual profit of 1.1 within just 2 years of incorporation. The firm is currently producing 20 tonnes of agriculture produce annually. The firm uses the premium pricing strategy as of now due to the efforts put behind it and the market being niche as of now. As soon as the demand increases’ the prices would subsidize owing to the allocation of overhead expenses and covering the operational expenses. The firm maintains its quality by continuously investing in the R&D technology.

They are also building the blueprint for venturing into the Aquaponics realising its potential in the future. Aquaponics works on the symbiotic combination of culturing the fishes and further using their discharge as manure in the hydroponics setup. Further the firm is still functional only in Goa, so the firm has plans of further expanding all over India, that is going Pan India in the near future.

Social and environmental benefit

Letcetra, with it’s innovation of new techniques in farming, has achieved eleven out of seventeen sustainability goals. SDG 1 : No poverty, SDG 2: : Zero hunger, SDG 3: Good health and well being, SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation, SDG 8: Descent work and economic growth, SDG 9: industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities, SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production, SDG 14: Life below water: aquaponics, SDG 15: Life on land.

The company is attaining all this by giving back a even better quality of crops which are not influenced by pesticides. Letcetra believes that just growing crops is not going to serve the purpose. The quality of food we eat is degrading at a very slow but effective rate. Thus, it is important to consider quality as a factor along with the quantity of production. Although it would be difficult for the people to pursue to opt for food prepared from this new way of cropping but with the benefits received people will definitely start looking at it positively.

Interview

Harish Usgaonker, CTO

Photo of interviewee

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Letcetra Agritech

Letcetra Agritech

Fatorda Goa, Goa, IN

Business Website: www.letcetraagritech.com

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Letcetra Agritech is an organization involved in hi-tech vertical hydroponics indoor farming which produce top quality pesticide-free vegetables. It is India’s first hi-tech vertical hydroponics indoor farm. The company is into production of exotic vegetables, and provides services to people who want to develop urban farming practices.