Delish Veggies: Cultivating High-Quality Produce sans Soil

Udaykumar Mathapati,CEOWith the world population touching 7.5 billion and desire for resource-intensive foods evolving tremendously, it is evident that the cultivations need to be more productive to meet the growing needs of today’s people. Without adequate amount of land available to cultivate on, people are now switching to soil-less gardening techniques, popularly recognized as Hydroponics. Growing plants without soil may sound like a futuristic concept, but like technology, agriculture sector is also evolving. Hydroponics is already being used to cultivate plants that have exceedingly high quality, occupy less space, and consume fewer resources as compared to traditional growing methods. Believing in the age old notion of, ‘You are what you eat’; Udaykumar Mathapati, once an engineer at Infosys and a hydroponic cultivator today, cashed on this budding sector in 2016 by establishing 'Delish Veggies’ - a high technology greenhouse employing controlled environment agriculture for producing high quality varieties of cherry tomatoes, colour capsicums and lettuce.

“I was settled in USA during my onsite project with Infosys, when I
first encountered distinctly fresh, tasty and hygienic fruits and vegetables in Walmart, packed and stamped as hydroponical ly grown produce. The u n i que method of cultivation and my children’s strong fondness towards this yield inspired me to get my hands on it and furnish this hydroponically cultivated supply for the people across India. My curiosity led me into researching about this and I even attended a course in Protected Cultivation and Hydroponic cultivation in Arizona Agriculture University in Arizona State, USA. In the due course, I had recognized that soilless cultivation was a boon in disguise for the Indian agriculture and the future of Farming; and I eventually returned back to India to establish–‘Delish Veggies’,” says Udaykumar Mathapati, CEO, Delish Veggies.

Set up with a mission to lead the horticulture industry as premium grower and marketer of branded, high quality fresh produce grown in protected environment, Delish Veggies aspires to reach every single child to make him or her aware of good eating habits and importance of eating residue free good nutritious salads. To make this mission possible Udaykumar understands that a radical shift is required in present Indian agriculture sector. Sensing the gap for proper knowledge and expert advice in Indian AgriTech space, the firm has undertaken a leadership role to organize agriculture training programmes for commercial growers and others. Udaykumar explains, “We have collaboration with Australian company ‘Grame Smith Consulting’ to organize extensive training programs on Hydroponics and Greenhouse Management. This training helps agriculture community to understand
best principles being deployed across the world and opens up the whole new world of modern cultivation based on science. The programme received tremendous response and last two batches have landed to glossy posts. We are organizing our 3rd batch in coming June (4th June to 8th June 2018).”

Today, as chief visionary for Delish Veggies, Udaykumar Mathapati believes that, increased awareness about nutritious food will drive the demand for quality produce by many folds and Technical Innovation will be the key to achieve it. He envisions Controlled Environment Farming as a healthier option to prevent the produce from getting mutilated/adulterated due to external pollutants, allowing conservation of natural resources by integrating technology and available resources. “We have adopted omni-channel strategies to cater our market with a vision to evolve as a global leader in cultivation of top-quality horticulture producer that leverages best in class people, process and innovative agriculture technologies.We will make our niche in the domain by building largest hydroponic farms driven by technology,” shares Uday. In the years to come, Delish Veggies foresees working towards building urban satellite farms which are connected to all the smart cities and bringing latest technologies such as cloud, IOTs, AI to these farms. Uday believes that this will be an advantage towards helping agriecosystems to reap benefits of predictable growing and assured market. Udaykumar is also planning to float all India Hydroponic Grower Association during this training program to bring collaboration among all the stakeholders in this industry.