When Tirupati-based Sandeep Kannan graduated college in 2020, most of his friends and classmates were thinking about moving out of their town to explore career prospects in other cities. Others wanted government jobs. “I was among them and started preparing for civil service examinations. Later, I started wondering why a person like me, who has a farming background, should pursue a different career,” he recalls. He adds, “When the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were imposed, I had more time to think about it, so I decided to explore polyhouse farming methods. I read books, watched videos, and did in-depth research.”
However, his research led him to another method of farming that he found to be more alluring: hydroponics. “I was intrigued by the method, and it was a less explored technique in Tirupati. I decided to try it out myself,” he says. Sandeep spent three months planting leafy vegetables and lettuce on his terrace. “I bought PVC pipes, drilled holes as required, and provided necessary nutrients through water. I received my first harvest in November,” he says.
Sandeep borrowed money from his mother and two brothers to set up a hydroponics farm on half an acre of land located in Thanapalli. He launched a startup, Vyavasayi Bhoomi, selling spinach, red amaranth, basil, kale, pak choi (Chinese cabbage), lettuce, and broccoli.
“I started small, with a handful of vegetable varieties, as I was not sure if the market in Tirupathi would accept the concept. Hydroponic vegetables are in high demand in cities like Bengaluru and Chennai, but the situation is different in small towns. I started taking the supply to the market, supermarkets, and residential areas,” he says.
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