Agresearch Labs(Greenlyfe): Growing Zero Pesticide Produce For Preserving Health

Arvind Narayanan &  Arun J. Holla,  FoundersControlled Environment Agriculture(CEA)is at a nascent stage in India, but demand is expected to pick up with the increased commercial acceptance of hydroponic produce for staple and exotic vegetables. With the growing popularity of the technology, the competition has intensified, with some startups and large business groups entering the business over the last three-to-four years. Due to the high untapped market potential, a fair playground is available for the existing and new players. Incepted in 2013 with a vision of providing clean food to the masses, Agresearch Labs grows the produce in environmentally controlled greenhouses, using a proprietary hydroponics system, in an ecologically sustainable manner.

India is still about 5-10 years away from making CEA a norm for growing horticultural crops, the main constraints being Capex heavy nature of commercial hydroponics and aeroponics farms, lack of expertise, and a highly price-sensitive market. Most CEA farms run on foreign systems which do not reflect the needs of Indian crops and growing conditions. Conventional agriculture practices provide seasonal output with heavy chemicals usage and water footprint, but CEA technologies offer year-round production. With an intense research and development in India's first deep water culture farm for leafy greens and executing the first state-of-the-art commercial DWC farm in Bangalore, Agresearch Labs got launched with a range of leafy vegetables having zero pesticides. "Designing scalable
technologies that conserve water while producing pesticide-free fresh produce at low cost to cater to the masses drives the company towards success. We at Agresearch Labs are a bootstrapped company with more than a decade of experience in designing, developing, executing, and managing commercial CEA farms", speaks Arun J. Holla.

Achieving Sustainability with Indigenous Technologies
Greenlyfe, as a brand by Agresearch Labs Private Limited, has emerged as a product with a high degree of consistency in terms of quality and quantity in the fresh vegetable market. The company's business model encourages investments in commercial CEA farms through a unique model where investors bring capital in exchange for a tax free return on their investment and Agresearch Labs brings technology, management and market. Under the Agresearch Labs brand, the company offers a wide range of zero pesticide fresh leafy vegetables like spinach, coriander, mint, green amaranthus, and many more. Agresearch Labs derives inspiration from high-volume manufacturing plants concerning their way of organizing and management. It identifies failure modes and implements prevention strategies for mitigating the risks as, for pest control, everything in the greenhouse are sterilized. "Agresearch Labs is keeping itself agile to continuous design and process improvements and frugal innovations", says Arvind Narayanan.

Arun J. Holla, Founder

Agresearch Labs has recently developed an Indigenous commercial Aeroponic growing system for Indian crops. The company has sold to 15+ retail chains and 20+ Apartment complexes across Bangalore. Agresearch Labs has also been awarded as one of India's Top 25 Student Startups by TATA and National Entrepreneurship Network- 2014. It caters to 8+ B2B Clients, including gourmet garden, swiggy suprdaily and deep-rooted.

Agresearch Labs plans to leverage the indigenous technologies developed by it to rapidly expand the production base across India in the next 5-7 years, produce nutraceutical crops at low cost, and achieve a topline of 70-80crs/ annum. It desires to establish a robust B2B and B2C brand and supply network for pesticide-free fresh vegetables and looks forward to tapping into international markets.