[Start-it-up] How To Start Microgreen Farming Business?

Area of 1000 sq ft can produce 400 kg of microgreens every week without the use of any soil, fertilizer or pesticides.

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Microgreens are the new superfood and people are trying to incorporate microgreens more and more in their diets. These beneficial edibles can be grown in the backyard of your house. But what exactly are microgreens?

Microgreens are young, small-sized, approximately one to three inches, tall vegetable greens with an aromatic flavour that chefs mostly use to decorate and dress food that they serve in restaurants and cafes. These young plants are said to have concentrated nutrient levels that can go 40 times higher than the normal size produce. Microgreens are also becoming widely popular among health conscious people because of their claimed healthcare benefits.

Who can start a microgreen farm?

Mumbai based Linesh Pillai, who is the founder of UGF Farms states, "A Microgreen farm can be opened by absolutely anyone."

To grow microgreens Urban Vertical Farming is employed. Urban vertical farming is a method in which the technique of hydroponics is used to grow the plant vertically, one over the other in a small space. Hydroponics or soil-less farming uses a nutrient-rich water solution to grow the plants instead of soil.

It is very easy to practice vertical farming and grow microgreens. There are various manuals and tutorials available online that you can refer.

As there is no soil, the weight on the wall or a roof is significantly reduced, minimizing the risk of structural damage to your house.

How much investment does starting a microgreen farm requires?

Pillai shares that, " (Starting microgreen farming) It's very simple and about 1000 sq ft produces 400 kgs every week without the use of any soil, fertilizer or pesticides."A 1000 sq ft farm requires an investment of approximately INR 14 lakh. The retail value of per month produce is approximately INR 2 lakhs."

A broad break-up of your investment (for 1000sq ft) is:

Greenhouse installation - around 7 to 8 lakhs

Sundry - around 3 lakhs

6 months operational cost - around 3 lakhs

Who are your prospective clients?

5 star hotels, cafes, supermarkets and also urban upper-middle-class households are your potential customers. You can either run a B2B business (where you supply hotels and cafes microgreens) and also a B2C business (by selling directly to customers - you can start the business by selling to your neighbours and people in a particular locality and later expand by opening a shop).

"You can also offer the microgreens in interesting format for eg, salad mix, paratha mix, bhel mix etc for consumers to accept and adapt to it," suggests Pillai, to improve the sale and traction around microgreens. He adds that sellers should also highlight the health benefits of microgreens as the primary selling point.

Starting a microgreen farm is simple (start from your backyard and expand later). It also ensures that you eat healthy and the product that you put out in the market is organic and good for your customers.