From The Better India
This unique green investment venture allows people to buy land and take up agriculture.
Ashok Jayanthi, Sriram Chitlur and Srinath Setty are engineers who left their jobs to work in the agriculture space. Together, they have formed Hosachiguru – an agricultural asset management company based in Bengaluru.
All three had inherited farmland from their families. Even though, as working professionals, they couldn’t dedicate a lot of time to farming, they still managed to do so on the weekends.
With commitment and hard work, they found success in agriculture.
Seeing them balance farming so well with their professional lives, people started asking them for advice and tips on how to manage their agricultural land.
This is how they decided to start a company to help others invest in agriculture. They were joined by Hemanth P., who has a background in investment and wealth management.
Today, Hosachiguru, which means tender sprouts in Kannada, manages agricultural assets worth over USD 7 million in horticulture, timberland, protected cultivation, and nursery.
What Hosachiguru does
“We procure large parcels of unused arable land for those who are willing to invest in scientific farming. These professionals and businessmen are looking for alternate opportunities to generate passive income,” says Sreevathsa, a consultant working with the company.
Hosachiguru follows a simple three-step process in its agri-investment model. First, it procures land for its investors. The land is chosen on the basis of water availability, soil conditions, and the budget of the investor. If a client already owns land, Hosachiguru takes on the management of that land.
It then designs and develops the land, depending on the crops selected for cultivation. It prepares the soil for farming, sets up a drip irrigation system or borewell, hires labourers to work on the farm, obtains an electricity line for the farm, and so on.
After the land is acquired and prepared, Hosachiguru manages the operations for three months.
It plants the seeds, prepares a roadmap for the owner and the supervisor, and also educates them on the practices to be followed. The client also has the choice of continuing with the operations and maintenance services provided by the company.
How Hosachiguru does it
Hosachiguru’s farming practices are careful and precise. It adopts cutting-edge techniques to ensure maximum productivity. It employs the use of precision farming – a method that helps to grow more crops by using fewer resources and reducing production costs.
For those with smaller budgets, the company cultivates short-term horticultural crops like banana, melon, ginger, papaya, etc.
And for who have more time and money to invest in farmland, Hosachiguru plants timber – teak, sandalwood, Melia Dubia, etc.
To do what it does best, Hosachiguru consults experts from various fields. It has set up sound irrigation practices with inputs from Ayyappa Masagi – the Water Warrior of India. Also, H.S. Anatha Padmanabha, a renowned scientist, guides the company on sandalwood cultivation.
According to Shiv Kumar, an entrepreneur who has invested in land through the company, “The best part about Hosachiguru is its team. The advisory board of the company comprises experts and leaders in their respective fields. They are completely transparent with the customers regarding business transactions.”
Another reason why clients are happy with the company is because it gives them real time data on their farm. The clients can go online and access reports to keep track of their investments and the progress of farming – including details like how much fertilizer has been added, growth of the crops, etc.
“We create a proper ecosystem in the farm. The farm animals employed in the field are also fed with the by-products that are available there,” says Sree Vathsa.
The company operates close to Bengaluru due to easy accessibility and logistics. It plans to expand slowly to other rural belts in Karnataka. However, legal hurdles prevent those who don’t own ancestral agricultural land from buying it in the state.
To counter this problem, Hosachiguru also owns and works on land in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, where there are no such laws in place. Here, the company has employed the services of locals to ensure the farms are maintained well.
“This is a very poor area. The organisation has managed to restore a sense of dignity to the profession of agriculture. Many youngsters these days don’t want to take up this profession as they don’t see it as lucrative. We want to change this. As part of its social initiatives, the organisation has also adopted a school in the district,” says Sree Vathsan.
Hosachiguru’s revenues depend on the final harvest. Here, it takes a profit only if the investor makes money too.
For horticultural crops, the company shares 50% of the profit with the client.
For long-term crops, it takes a smaller share.
Though the company doesn’t completely practise organic farming, it intends to get there in the future. As the land bought from farmers is usually contaminated by the prolonged use of various pesticides, the company works towards neutralising the soil and restoring its quality.
“The biggest concerns with any investment of this value would be credibility, legality, and exit plan. Hosachiguru has brilliantly devised a win-win situation for investors. In terms of return on investment, you get passive income that is tax free,” says Sunil Kumar Pissaye, co-founder of Press31, who is a client of Hosachiguru.
Ashok, Sriram and Srinath have no regrets about quitting their lucrative jobs to take up agriculture. In fact, they say giving something back to mother earth and restoring dignity to agriculture are their greatest joys.
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