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For Krimanshi Technologies, 1.3 billion tonnes of global food waste offers great business opportunity

Nikhil Bohra led agritech Krimanshi aims to revolutionise the innovation-stagnant Indian feed sector by creating a new value chain around unconventional feed resources by utilizing the food waste being generated to produce natural high nutrition feeds.

, ET Online|
Last Updated: Feb 13, 2020, 09.26 AM IST
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The firm has raised follow-on investment from Villgro and Social Alpha with a tune of Rs 1.57 crore along with mentoring and go-to-market support.
Hot Startups 2020
Food security for all is a pressing issue humankind faces today. Consider this - there will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth by 2050, about 3 billion more mouths to feed than there were in 2010, forecasts Washington based World Resources Institute (WRI).

However, there is already a big shortfall between the amount of food we produce and the amount needed to feed everyone on this planet. Adding to the irony is that roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year - about 1.3 billion tonnes - gets lost or wasted, reports the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).

Food losses and waste amount to roughly $310 billion in developing countries and fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food, states the UN agency. Amid such a backdrop, and inspired by the very need to change the status quo, Jodhpur-based Krimanshi Technologies has taken the plunge to make a difference in its unique way.

With its novel technology to manufacture high-quality animal feeds from surplus agriculture and food residues, the agritech startup claims that its unique technology "upcycles" food waste into low-cost nutritious cattle feed and fodder, results in minimal loss to nutrients that are produced at half the conventional drying cost.

Reinventing cattle nutrition
Explaining the firm's proprietary technology, its founder Nikhil Bohra says, "Krimanshi upcycles the food waste collected from farms, Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), juice shops and other sources, and dehydrates them in a controlled environment without exposing the substrates to direct sunlight or high temperatures from burnt fuels."

As part of the process, the firm claims to make use of a modified solar tunnel drying concept, using which, its founder adds that the enterprise is able to speed up the entire drying process to support rapid scaling up while maintaining the natural minerals and vitamins in the dried food.
Launched in 2018, the firm's existing offerings range from concentrate feed based on fruit and vegetable feed powders to silage, based on agri-hub wastes like banana leaves and carrot tops, and from Azolla and hydroponics as green fodder to mineral mixes.

The primary beneficiaries of this social enterprise today include, low-income, dairy farmers who cannot, otherwise, afford high-protein dairy feed, and therefore are unable to sustain profitable milk production.

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"We strive to provide a year-round supply of naturally more nutritious feeds, fodder and natural mineral mixes to small farmers at a lower cost than the market prices," says Bohra, 31. He claims that as a result of using the startup's unique offerings, many of its early users have reported over 20% increase in milk yield and, fat and SNF% (Solids Not Fat) content.

According to him, though the country has substantial feed resources, still much of the agri waste, to the tune of 31 crore tons, is burnt while another 10 crore tons of grains, fruits and vegetables are lost due to poor storage and logistics. This is where a great business opportunity lies for Krimanshi.

Flagging the ongoing lull in the economic activity across sectors, including the agri sector - country's highest employer, he remarks, "The cost of feed materials has risen by 60-80% in the past 12 months. As a result, cattle are underfed, and small farmers could not get the right milk production from cattle. Both the quality and quantity take a hit in rural areas, and smallholder dairy farming is fast becoming unprofitable with farmers shifting to other livelihood options."

Rich dividends
The agritech startup, with a headcount of just 10 full-time and eight part-time employees, cloaked revenue of Rs 56 lakh in FY 2019-2020.

"After getting funding and incubation support from the INVENT Program (a joint initiative of the Technology Development Board, GoI & UK Government), we have seen rapid growth in terms of sales from 50,000 in 2017, Rs 15 lakh in 2018 and closed 2019 with Rs 56 lakh in revenue, serving 500 plus farmer households per month through 100 plus retail outlets," says Bohra.

The firm has raised follow-on investment from Villgro and Social Alpha with a tune of Rs 1.57 crore along with mentoring and go-to-market support.

The entrepreneur adds that Krimanshi aims to serve 4,000 dairy farmers daily spread across Rajasthan and Karnataka in the next two years, providing feeds to 10,000 plus cattle daily. Recently, the firm has started piloting with poultry farmers and is poised to launch poultry and fish feeds by the first quarter of 2020.

It further aims to expand operations to five new cities in the next two years and to partner with five new APMCs/ food processing industries to help them dispose of their food waste and set up in situ production centres, informs Bohra.

"We are targeting to raise pre-series A round in the mid of 2020 to expand in the poultry and fish segment, while cementing the cattle feed business in the markets of the low-income states," he adds.

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