Agritech: Buying and managing a farm now made easy with tech

By: |
February 17, 2021 12:45 AM

Bengaluru-based agritech firm Hosachiguru gives you a chance to own a farmland, grow trees/crops, and spend your weekends at the farm

“It helps people buy agricultural land, manage it end-to-end through our farm-as-a-service model and earn long term wealth benefits through the produce,” says Setty, the co-founder. (Representative image)

Long work hours, back-to-back calls, constant social media distractions and household chores. We are busier than ever before. We are caught up in the chaos of doing things. We rarely stop to evaluate what we truly want. Amidst this chaos, how many of us take time off to rejuvenate, connect with nature and spend quality time with our families?

Plainspeak, many of us dream of having that perfect weekend getaway—a farmhouse in the lap of nature, a chance to grow your own food, and experience open blue skies.

Hosachiguru, a Bengalure-based agricultural asset management company, gives you a chance to own a farmland, grow trees/crops, and spend your weekends at your farm. All this without the hassle of day-to-day management of the farm. Founded by Srinath Setty, Ashok J, and Sriram Chitlur in 2014, Hosachiguru offers cherry-picked farmlands to customers, develops and manages the land, and helps them earn income on the produce. The name ‘Hosachiguru’ originates from the Kannada terms ‘hosa’ which means ‘new’ and ‘chiguru’ which means ‘sprout’.

“It helps people buy agricultural land, manage it end-to-end through our farm-as-a-service model and earn long term wealth benefits through the produce,” says Setty, the co-founder.

Hosachiguru picks farmlands based on parameters such as clear land titles, soil, water availability, and connectivity. Customers can choose from ¼ acre, ½ acre, and 1-acre plots. Price ranges between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 32 lakh. These are gated farm communities with 24/7 surveillance and security, electricity supply, and in campus farming quarters for farmers. The company provides dashboard access to customers to understand the progress of activities at the farm. There is drone-based surveillance to understand the soil and topography to identify areas that require attention.

Hosachiguru was founded on the idea of creating a lifestyle business by the two co-founders – Chitlur and Ashok who were later joined by Setty. The idea was to make investing in agricultural land financially attractive while also choosing to live a greener life and giving back to nature. The pioneers of the ‘Managed’ farmlands concept, their vision was to change the conventional view that agriculture was a low-income industry.

From 2013 to 2017, Hosachiguru just worked on four projects which was more of a learning phase of the business. It was in 2017-18 that a more concrete plan on execution and scaling the business was formed. Only a select number of crops were used to make optimum use of the conditions and land specifications. This technique was coupled with a strong execution team, and the net result is that the company has been growing at more than 100% YOY, says Setty.

Hosachiguru received a total of 10,020 enquiries from March 2020 to December 2020. “During this period, there were 107 customers who came on board and 73.96 acres of managed farmland were sold between March 2020 and December 2020,” he says. From the time they started in 2014, Hosachiguru has about 350 customers. But in the last nine months alone it has added 100+ new customers. The current customer base is 500+.

Four years back, Hosachiguru raised an undisclosed amount from angel investor Venkat Narayan, CEO at Prestige Group. The company currently has 20 sustainable projects with 1000-plus acres of land under cultivation. Hosachiguru has planted over a million trees and has close to $30 million assets under management. The company expects to close the financial year with a turnover of Rs 50 crore.

Setty informs that Hosachiguru is planning to venture into farmlands closer to the city, while also expanding its reach in farmlands that are attractively priced. “More the number of trees, more is the carbon sequestration, which will result in more carbon credits,” says Setty.

Hosachiguru aims to monetise these carbon credits that would provide massive carbon offsets. “We aim to set up 5000 acres of farmland in the next three years and are planning to invest downstream in sandalwood and timber assets,” he adds.

(L-R) Hosachiguru co-founders Srinath Setty, Sriram Chitlur and Ashok J

Hosachiguru is also coming up with retreat homes on the farms which blend responsibility with retreat. “The eco-retreats will have permaculture gardens, plant nurseries, animal petting farms, and camping sites. Such retreats are also becoming increasingly relevant in the present context. The bliss of nature coupled with the 5G internet and fibre optics would also nurture a calm work environment in today’s work-from-home scenario,” he adds.

Additionally, Hosachiguru is also venturing into supporting all its managed farmlands by smart agricultural technology such as GIS monitoring and analysis of land parcels, spectral imaging of plant health and sensor-based decision making for irrigation management. This will allow Hosachiguru to optimise their management as scale increases.

 

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