When Kochi resident Ajay Gopinath quit his high-paying banking job a few years ago and decided to pursue his passion for starting his venture, he wasn’t sure how his life would evolve. Eight years have passed since then, and now Ajay is a successful entrepreneur, earning over Rs 3 lakh per month by growing microgreens in the 80 sqft bedroom of his house in Chittoor, Ernakulam.
Though Ajay began his entrepreneurial journey with a plant nursery at his home, he decided to conduct extensive research on micro-greens and their business potential after learning about their nutritional values and health benefits. Microgreens, also known as a superfood, caught his attention while dining at a restaurant in Bengaluru. He conducted research and discovered the amazing benefits of microgreens, which are entirely free from fertilizers and chemical usage. Ajay collected more details about microgreen farming and started working on developing a viable controlled farming system to grow microgreens.
His years of hard work enabled him to develop a viable business model for growing microgreens with an investment of Rs 90,000. “I now grow around 15 varieties of micro-greens in an 80 sqft room in his house, harvesting approximately 5 kg of greens every day and generating sales worth Rs 2 to 3 lakh per month,” 51-year-old Ajay told “Open Digest.”
According to Ajay, people in India still aren’t aware of microgreens, which are in high demand in Europe and countries like Japan. “Just 25 gm of microgreen delivers all the nutritional elements of a fully grown vegetable. Additionally, microgreens are Non-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), non-hybrid, and untreated. They should be consumed raw as salad to get the real taste,” he said.
Ajay, who has established a firm under the brand name “Grow Greens” for marketing and selling the microgreens, has successfully created a franchise model business across the country. In this model, he partners with entrepreneurs interested in microgreen farming, providing technical support to set up the farming system and helping them find a market for the products.
“More people are now including micro-greens in their diet after realising its health benefits. I decided to expand my venture commercially after my friends and family members really loved the taste and quality of the microgreens,” he said. Ajay now grows micro-greens of radish varieties like sango purple, china rose, red, and white, green mustard, yellow American mustard, beet, bok choy, corn, and sunflower.
His 80 sqft farm at his house has been set to a temperature below 25 degrees and humidity at 40 to 60 percent for growing microgreens in food-grade trays.
“People often think that microgreens are expensive to buy, but that’s not the case. They are much less expensive than a pack of milk. A family can include micro-greens in their diet by spending just Rs 20 per day. People should understand that microgreens are completely free from fertilisers and other chemicals,” he said. Studies have found that they are a good source of nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B12, and rich in minerals like potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper, and are also packed with several antioxidants.
Ajay now has a growing base of clientele, including celebrities who regularly source microgreens from his farm.