A software is developed where a device is clipped on the leaves and stem of each plant. The software is connected to the computers, and informs the user when a particular plant needs more nutrients or minerals .
What it is all about
A Gurugram based company started byShivendra Singh (31) in 2016 in Dubai, UAE, with a mission to bring technology innovation in the farming sector, focuses on Hydroponics which is a method of growing plants without soil by making use of mineral solutions. This is a method which reduces water consumption as well as induces yield.
The main aim of the company was to give ‘clean food’ to its customers throughout the year, without being affected by the changing seasons.
The man behind
Shivendra who worked with the Landmark Group in Dubai after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad started working on a pilot project around hydroponics and set up two container farms in Dubai. As told, t was then he met Ratnakar Rai (49), an Agro Technologist, in an agri-tech meet. “We shared our thoughts on the need for hydroponic and clean food in India, and soon he joined me on my second research project,” says Shivendra.
Ratnakarjoined as the cofounder of the company as hespecialized in Controlled Environment Agriculture with his branch already in India.
Later on the requirement of a technical expert lead to the joining of a new member, Dheeraj Joshi (35) who has over 14-years of experience working with software and automation companies in India, the UK and Singapore.
The entry of Barton Breeze into Indian market took place in 2017. The company has developed six fully-automated farms within a year in four states namely Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
However, “Getting skilled operators was impossible, and we had to train and build our own ground staff team. We are now a team of six core members, supported by 14 field farms,” says Shivendra. He also reported that“The supplier base was limited, and so we developed products ourselves and encouraged vendors to develop a few” However, the journey wasn’t as easy for the team.
Nutrient Film Technique channels, home gardening essentials, and consumables like plat nutrition, net pots, and grow media are the five hydroponic products developed in-house.
The startup is now a retail supplier of these products, and this “adds up to 15 percent of our revenue,” Shivendra adds.
The company basically designs and fabricates automated farms for its clients which are then operated and marketed by the team on a yearly service agreement. Shivendra also added that, “The annual service agreement comes with a minimum annual return on investment of 30 percent. However, if a client wants to operate or market by themselves, they are open to do that.”
In India there are around 8 farms set up by Barton Breeze, two of which are operated by the company itself. It is being visualised by the in-house trained staff. Each of these farms follows a daily checklist standard operating procedure, and the agronomist team keeps an eye on the regular activities.
“The charge of nine to 14 percent service fee on total sales revenue is being done depending on the size of the farm and other parameters,” The average size of these farms is 1,000 sq mt. The choice of crop is being decided by the marketing team which provides a seedling schedule to the farm supervisor in advance. After the first harvest, the farm itself takes care of all the operational expenses.
Some of Barton Breeze’s key clientele include Hero Steel, True Leaf, Milkbasket, Naffaq, and JVL. The startup has also developed a low-cost ‘Home Growing Kit’to enable consumers to grow their food with minimal time and investment.
Presently, Barton Breeze operates eight farms in India, two farms in Dubai, and does consultation in Qatar.
Planning and execution
As quoted by Shivendra Rs 2,500 per sq mt is required to to develop a fully-automated hydroponic farm, and an additional Rs 1,400 per sq mt for the polyhouse construction. Amount gradually reduces with decrease in farm size. It takes up to two months to build an automated farm, including a polyhouse.
with a CAGR of 300 percent in 2018, since 2017 the company has generated Rs 1.8 crore in revenue and in financial year 2019 based on the expansion plans they are targeting a revenue of Rs 10 crore in financial year 2019, at a CAGR of 800 percent,”
Initially supportedeach farm now takes care of its operational expenses by selling the produce.
Growing at the rate of 18.1 percent between 2016 to 2023, According to Stratistics MRC, the global hydroponics market will reach $724.87 million by 2023. At present, startups like Goa-based BitMantis Innovation, Himachal Pradesh-based Junga FreshnGreen, and Chennai based future farms are working in the hydroponics farming sector.
However, Barton Breeze is “not just a hydroponic farm developer, but also a farmer and a retailer,” says Shivendra.