WINGREENS Herbs & Oxygenerators A Sustainable Farm to Market Initiative MISSION To marry the concepts of environment sustainability and social good with high profitability in the field of agriculture : OBJECTIVES SUSTAINABILTY: Conservation of fast depleting water resources and improving soil quality by using drip irrigation in an area that is threatening to turn into desert soon. Emphasis on composting, water harvesting and other sustainable agricultural practices. SOCIAL GOOD: Creation of adequate work for women labour and opportunities for a better quality of life. Helping farmers maximise their income from land by introducing them to crops that fetch a higher revenue and ensure water conservation MARKET ACCESS: By using innovative marketing and sales strategies to provide market access through setting up ones own brand nationally and opening up international markets for exports for high-value, water conserving crops. BACKGROUND Unfortunately conservation and sustainability particularly in agriculture are concepts that are seen more as curative rather than preventive in nature. This translates into resistance to change. Resistance to change crops that have been growing traditionally in an area for generations on end. The cropping patterns are set, the market is set, the methods and ease and convenience is set. And this goes on year after year without thinking of how much the world around is changing or the soil is deteriorating or the ground water is depleting. BACKGROUND A case in point is Village Dadu in Tauru District, Mewat Haryana. The traditional crops were Wheat, Mustard, Bajra and Jowar. They still are the major crops grown here. The annual income has remained less than Rs 20000 per acre per annum for years. The soil has turned sandy and bereft of most nutrients. The water table has sunk several hundred feet. The water development is 164% over-exploited. At this rate in the next few years the ground water table will become inadequate. The irony is Dadu is just 30kms from the shinning city of Gurgaon. Around 45kms from Delhi’s International Airport. PILOT PROJECT It is here that WINGREENS decided to start its pilot project. An innovation had to be discovered. The entire process of how agriculture was being looked at had to change and a buy in had to be got from the local populace. Tradition had to be broken. Education would have been too slow a process, so demonstration was chosen instead. Time was at a premium and results had to be shown in maximum 1-2 years so that scale up could happen thereafter. SOCIAL GOOD The First Innovation: (Social Good) The land was leased from the farmer at higher than his produce income (not contracted). This took the risk away from the farmer and won his co-operation. His family was employed at the farm and business front at additional wages. (This skilled them and added to their household income as well as ensured skilled man power was available at the end of the demo for scale up). Women Labour were hired and skilled for all the additional work (this gave them income and ensured a skilled workforce was available at the end of the demonstration). RESULTS Results one year: The farmer’s family and relatives income grew from 20000 an acre to 300000 an acre per annum including rental. Substantial livelihood generation for women labour. SUSTAINABILITY The Second Innovation: (Sustainabilty – Water Conservation) Crops that require less water traditionally had to be discovered and those which would grow in the existing soil and weather conditions. Also those that had the potential for fetching a high price in the market. And above all those which would grow discernibly better in drip irrigation thus dissuade the use for water wasting techniques of irrigation such as flood and traditional sprinkler. Surprisingly we discovered a number of such crops through intensive study and experimentation. Crops that had never been grown in the area before. Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Stevia, Basil, Lemon Grass, Mint, Peppermint, Ajwain Leaf, Lettuce, Lolla Rossa, Aragula, Bok Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Brahmi, Ashwagandha and Aloe Vera. RESULTS Results one year: Drip Irrigation systems from Jain Irrigation and priceless consultancy from them along with the right choice of crops helped the crops grow very successfully and of the best quality and virtually disease free. Only organic fertilizer needed to be used and almost no pesticide. But above all the drip irrigation helped save 2500000 litres of water in one acre We could save around 35 to 40% water required for the farm with drip irrigation and 15 to 20% with sprinkler irrigation, and as far as rare products are concerned it could not have possible without drip irrigation. Because there was no parallel example of growing the folia and herbs in such harsh climate. RESULTS Other salient features : Waste was converted in compost and used on the same farm Less utilization of hazardous chemical Saving of around 25 Lakh litres of water per acre due to drip irrigation This savings converts into 756 units/acre of Electricity for pumping This is equivalent to 0.6 tCO2 saving per acre per annum due to energy efficiency achieved due to drip irrigation. The important aspect is that the production was very high and thus the possibility of reduction of carbon footprint cannot be ruled out. MARKET ACCESS The Third Innovation (Marketing access ) A market had to be created The highest possible price had to be realized Sustainability(Water Conservation) Social Good (upliftment of women labour and farmers) positioned as a USP Taking advantage of the proximity to the city product is sold as potted plants for the first time in India through strategically located WINGREENS branded kiosks in supermarkets and malls to draw attention and build a brand name. The face of the farm and its sustainability and social advantages. An excellent showcase to gain the interest of large institutional clients and exporters. Built relationships and gained the confidence of Retail Giants like Spencers, Reliance Retail and Bharti-Walmart. Wingreens stores are now present in all these chains. RESULTS Results one year: A growth in revenue from Rs 20000 to Rs 1200000 an acre per annum. Sustainability and social good are increasingly being accepted as value creating business propositions and are providing solid reason for top organisations to switch from their existing suppliers to us. This usp is also providing exporters enough motivation to be in serious dialogue with us for exports. FUTURE This would help us expand the business substantially in the next 3 years. This would enable replication of this model over 50 acres which could result in a saving of over 1250 lakh litres of water per year in an area that needs it most. It would also inspire farmers for hundreds of acres across the same geography to do the same. It would help us provide 5600 woman days of work to landless women labour And a paradigm shift in the fortunes of farmers while saving their land from becoming desert.