After graduating in 2010, Likitha took a year off to help her mother in the family’s organic farm. That year, due to a bountiful harvest, the family had to sell the extra produce, which led to the inception of their band Terra Greens Organic. “We work closely with farmers across the country and bring them into the organic practice of farming, with a guarantee to buy back their produce. Basically, we eliminate the middlemen in the process. We have more than 3,000 farmers as a part of our network and we will soon be adopting 4,000 farmers from Tamil Nadu,” said the Founder and Director of Terra Greens Organic.
Likitha said farmers in Tamil Nadu were abreast of the organic methods of farming but lacked the right market to retail. “Farmers here are aware of the techniques but many said they didn’t practice organic farming because they don’t have the right market to sell their produce. That’s where we come in – we take farmers through paper work and help them get certified, while offering a guarantee for their produce,” she said, adding that stringent testing is done to ensure highest quality. Launched in 2013, the brand has a presence in 13 states and retails out of 500 stores, selling 92 staple products. This, said Likitha, is a positive indication of an increasing demand for organic produce. “Chennai has a high awareness of organic products. The educated middle class wants to eat healthy and it has the purchasing power. More importantly, there is a strong brand loyalty among Chennai consumers. We are growing 40% every month,” she added.
The company’s R&D wing is currently focussed on reviving ancient grains. “We have eight ready-to-cook products such as multi-grain atta and upma mix with millets. We are working towards re-looking at our ancient staples and including them into our products,” said Likitha.
With a turnover of Rs 15 crore this year, Likitha said they are planning to increase their reach. “We have only skimmed the surface. We want to penetrate the market, enter the Tier-II cities, while expanding our farmer base,” she concluded.