A Sustainable and AI Farming Practice Introducing Future-Ready Agriculture in India

Sustainable farming solutions in countries with arid climates such as India have caused an increased interest in hydroponic farms that practice growing plants without soil in a nutrient rich water solution. The hydroponic farming serves as an alternative promising farm practice that offers a solution for some serious challenges of crop production such as:

  • Lack of arable land
  • Climate change
  • Deforestation
  • Rising fossil fuel prices
  • Ecosystem degradation
  • Rise of water and food scarcity

Simply Fresh India, a 150 acres farm with 22 acres automated greenhouse aimed at making available nutritious food that is also free of chemicals and pesticides. Using soil-less farming technology, the farm present inventory readiness, consistent quality, and freshness of produce.

Simply Fresh uses Hydroponic farming practices to be able to manage pH and nutrients to make sure plants are getting the exact nutrients they need. The plant grows indoors which allows the workers to control temperatures and lighting schedules to improve plant production. Hydroponics also allows to create farms in locations where soil conditions are too poor to support farming, or space is limited, and a farm otherwise couldn’t exist.

Through the Hydroponic farming guidelines Simply Fresh ensures that the products we buy are safe and free from pesticides, herbicides, and contamination. At Simply Fresh, they provide every plant with the best nutrient formula to harvest highly efficient produce.

Hydroponic farming is a practice that has the potential to eliminate many of the limitations seen in traditional crop production. Therefore, it could serve to be a turning point in feeding the global population.

 

Interview – Simply Fresh

We have a candid interview with Mr. Sachin Darbarwar, Founder and CEO, Simply Fresh India, who is the Founder and CEO of Simply Fresh Private Limited.

Having worked in Australia, he holds an enriching background in Information Technology, with a strong understanding of agriculture technology and farming techniques.

Sachin holds a Master’s degree in IT Project Management – University of Sydney, Australia, and has also studied plant technology. He has over 18 years of experience with a strong technology portfolio in developing and innovating Shares trading platforms, Security & Antivirus software, Banking, and Agritech – Automation.

Sachin was the youngest IT Project Manager at Commonwealth Bank in Australia. Sachin stint with Agri tech began when he worked on Hydroponic farming for an Australian Agricultural university.

Here is the verbatim transcript of the interview.

  1. Your business model is unique! What inspired you to launch Simply Fresh?

– Simply Fresh Private Limited was founded in 2013 by two Indian software engineers, based in Australia, Sachin Darbarwar (CEO), and Shweta Darbarwar (CMO) who were studying the modern Agri tech, i.e., plant-profiling, and R&D.

With a strong understanding of the technical processes associated with farming techniques, the duo shifted back to their hometown Hyderabad, where they started implementing the latest farming techniques that are inspired by the Australian and New Zealand farm practices.

With a motto of Affordable Food safety, Simply Fresh’s mission is to bring fresh, clean, traceable, and technologically assisted produce through sustainable farming, adhering to the best standards of food safety.

Providing Nutra raw material, which is traceable, safe, and with higher alkaloid levels to nutraceutical companies. We follow sustainable farming practices for growing all our produce.

  1. Would you brief about Simply Fresh and how it works?

Simply Fresh focuses on providing safe, high in nutrition, traceable fresh produce, and Nutra raw material. We grow our produce hydroponically using precision farming techniques in an AI-controlled automated greenhouse. Our produces are pesticides-free and adhere to international standards of food safety. We also follow sustainable farming techniques, through which we only need 1/10th of water as compared to traditional farming.

  1. What was the core objective of launching such a concept of hydroponic farming, where do you find your company today?

The core objective of launching Simply Fresh was to provide safe, traceable, and high in nutritious food which is affordable. Also, we grow a variety of medicinal plants through which we provide the high alkaloid content raw material to Nutra and Pharma companies. All our fresh produce and Nutra medicinal plants are pesticide free. We care for the environment and follow sustainable farming practices. Today we have a prominent presence across major cities in India and are present in major Retail outlets. We also cater to the HoReCa segment and Corporates.

  1. Who can benefit from your products and how?

Anyone who is looking for a safe and nutritious diet can consume our fresh produce. Our range of fresh produce includes varieties of Lettuces, Fresh Herbs like Oregano, Mint, Basil, Thyme, Leafy Greens Like Kale, Arugula, Baby Spinach, Cherry and Grape Tomatoes, and Microgreens.

Simply Fresh produce is nutrient-rich and helps boost your immunity with an abundance of antioxidants and vitamins. They provide nutrients—like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E, vitamin K, Calcium, magnesium, and potassium—that can boost immune function. Our produce is also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress.

Apart from fresh produce, Simply Fresh has a nutraceutical vertical where we grow varieties of medicinal plants which contain three times the alkaloids than field-grown produce. The alkaloids extracted from these medicinal plants serve as raw material for Nutra and have high efficacy and applications.

  1. How is Simply Fresh improving the lives of end-users?

Consumers need to know where their food is coming from and how safe it is. Vegetables that a consumer buys from the market does not give them traceability and assurance that it is safe and chemical-free.

We, at Simply Fresh, address this issue by providing produce that is safe for consumption and at the same time being high in nutrition. Our produces are grown and handled with the utmost care and with minimum human intervention to prevent contamination.

With high antioxidants and antiviral properties, our produce helps boost immunity and well-being. The consumers are assured that the fresh produce they are consuming is safe and meets the right amount of nutrition required.

  1. How people are responding to this concept and how fast is it gaining traction?

There is more awareness in consumers about food safety and dietary requirements. The consumer wants to understand and be aware of what they are eating and where it is coming from. They are more health-conscious and prefer food that is safe and adds value to their well-being by boosting their immunity.

We have received great reviews and customer feedback about our produce and have seen a surge in customer demand for our fresh produce. The concept and awareness of precision farming and sustainable farming technique are widely being accepted and will be more and more prominent shortly.

  1. How you plan to expand your company?

With our new farm, our production will increase ten folds. We will be coming up with new varieties and range in the market. Our focus will be on a safe, traceable, and continuous supply of fresh and nutraceutical produce.

In the coming days, you will see us growing very aggressively in the retail, corporates, and HoReCa markets. We are closely working with new clients, vendors, and logistics partners and will be spreading our wings in other cities in India and as well as exports to various other countries.

  1. Do you see a need for more such companies in India and what’s the future of such initiatives in India?

With introducing AI farming we, at Simply Fresh, can do a lot of things which were not possible earlier. Technology-assisted agricultural activities are the future. It is more sustainable and will help India to be the leading example of innovation in agriculture. We need more such initiatives and support from the government to promote companies that are into Agri-Tech.

  1. How was your journey as the owner of Simply Fresh, and what challenges do you face?

It has been a learning experience. When we started Simply Fresh, it was a very new and unchartered territory in India. There was a lack of know- how, and we had to depend on many other countries for knowledge base and equipment.

But, over the years, we have been an adaption of Agri-tech in India and people being more inclined towards the new modern sustainable way of farming. It is the way ahead and will hope that our learning will help in better shaping the modern technological assisted agricultural era in India.

-Mamta Sharma

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