In his quest to shift to organic food, Anand K., CEO of SRL Diagnostics, took to organic farming in 2011. "When we were searching for organic food options, we found out with commodities such as rice, wheat, milk and vegetables, it's difficult to know whether they are truly organic because there's no specific certifying agency for such foods in India," he recalls. Companies that export organic foods to the US and Europe get their certifications from agencies abroad.
Anand roped in two more friends, and bought a 15-acre farm about 100 kilometres from Chennai. His next step was to convert the area into an organic farm. It usually takes three-five years for a farm to become completely organic because the whole soil needs to be replenished. "We are growing paddy (different varieties of rice), pulses and oil seeds currently. We also have organic milk. The yields are much less compared to regular rice varieties promoted by agricultural institutes, but our quality is much better. Today, we have been able to come up with a solution for at least a few families," he says. Anand wants to scale up the project, besides creating similar cooperative initiatives across the country. "At this point, we all work on it part-time. We can look at making this into a larger enterprise," he adds.
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