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Trikaya Agriculture Pvt Ltd grows forty less commonly grown vegetables for the Bombay market. Trikaya’s farm is near Talegaon, thirty five kilometers away from Pune or 130 kilometers away from Bombay. We have increased our acreage farmed from 55 acres in 1987 to 105 acres in 2001.

 

Trikaya Agriculture was started by my father, Ravi Gupta, in 1991, but his interest in growing began in 1982 when he purchased six acres in a hilly, jungle area fourteen kilometers from Lonavala. Naming it Grassroots, he began learning how to successfully grow temperate vegetables traditional wisdom said would not grow in our tropical conditions. Despite hostile conditions and a steep learning curve, after an often discouraging ten years, he decided to take the plunge into making his hobby a business.

 

Since vegetable farming requires assured irrigation, which our Lonavala farm lacks, we purchased land at our current farm near Talegaon and began farming on a larger scale. From 1991 to 1995 it was rough, and every success bought two failures which would have discouraged most others. There were times that I lost courage, but my father always persisted.

 

 We were intially told that growing a head forming lettuce like iceberg would be impossible even in our winter. By importing the right heat-resistant seeds, using seedling trays, frequent weeding to ensure that the plants grew unstressed, drip irrigation, raised bed farming, prechilling and chilling after harvest, we learnt how to grow these vegetables all year round. We now successfully grow heading lettuce even at the height of our very hot summers when temperatures can climb to over 35C.

 

We had to set up our own marketing network for our vegetables because there was no existing infrastructure. When we did produce, we often ended up discarding the produce in the compost heap because of unorganized demand. I remember my father going very proudly to the vegetable wholesale market at 6 am with some broccoli that he had grown successfully for the first time. He was laughed at for bringing “cauliflower that had gone bad”. We then decided to set up a staff of 20 in Bombay that delivers our vegetables to the larger hotels, vegetable vendors, air kitchens, ship chandlers, caterers, exporters and for home delivery. Fortuitously, this forced forward integration has meant that now we don’t have many middle-men between us the producer and the customer.

 

Since my father, Ravi Gupta ran a very successful advertising agency in Bombay, Trikaya Advertising Pvt Ltd (current avatar is Grey India) he was forced to be a weekend farmer. Seeing the number of failed agric businesses in India, it is even more to his credit that despite being a weekend farmer he managed to make Trikaya a successful business. Trikaya has proven to be robust and has been growing strong the last five years.

 

We have now branched out from our main business of growing vegetables to also grow uncommon cut flowers and fruits.

 

Samar Gupta

Trikaya Agriculture Pvt Ltd.

130/132, Great Western Building, 2nd floor,

Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Fort,

Mumbai 400023 India

Office Tel - (91-22) 22020111, 22845395 Fax -  (91-22) 22829824

email: samar@trikaya.net

Trikaya Agriculture's website at http://www.trikaya.net