In this day and age when we are eating more junk and preservatives, Delhi-based Ishira Mehta along with Puneet Jhajhariya wants us to explore traditional and nutritious grains. Her startup, Crop Connect is trying to focus quality food which has long existed and grown in India but simply not made it to our tables. And what might these be? Amaranth, ragi, millet and other such items.
She says revival of India’s traditional crops is possible by sustainability in farming practises. The founders travel across the country to find traditional options for healthy food and encourage farmers to grow them.
The two entrepreneurs do not have a background in food, but in agriculture. Ishira comes with over a decade of operational experience in building sustainable supply chains that link corporates to local farmers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and this is what propelled her to start CropConnect.
There is a big gap between what farmers grow and what customers want in urban India
“When I was working with the International Finance Corporation, I had to connect with a lot of agri chains in the country and that’s when I realised that there is a big gap between what farmers grow and what customers want in urban India. So farmers had things that they wanted to sell and customers wanted stuff but either did not know what the other was doing and that’s what motivated me to start CropConnect,” said Ishira.
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The main aim of the startup is to change the way India eats. “We are trying to revive the ancient indigenous grains and ingredients that used to grow in our country and bring them back to the market. A lot of these products are very beneficial for the farmers to grow as they are climate resilient, require less chemicals and pesticides and for the customers, these products are much more healthier in comparison to their western counterparts,” she added.