Abhinav T S is a graduate student at a college in Kochi, enjoying an academic life. However, unlike his peers, he is an entrepreneur who funds his studies by earning over Rs 80,000 each month through his mushroom farm on the terrace of his home.
It was while pursuing his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and finding a revenue source to fund his studies that Abhinav T S of Thoppumpady came across the idea of starting a mushroom farm. Soon, he converted the terrace of his house into a mini mushroom farm equipped with shelves, grow lights, and all the necessary equipment to produce organic oyster mushrooms.
His efforts yielded results when his friends and teachers at his college – St Albert’s College – began placing orders for his organic mushrooms after being impressed by the quality of the product. “I started the farm with the help of my mother. I took a loan of Rs eight lakh to set up a 1000 sqft farm on the terrace of my home. Initially, I couldn’t find any buyers for my mushrooms, but my friends and teachers in college chipped in with orders. Now, many shops in Kochi are selling the mushrooms produced at my farm,” Abhinav told “Open Digest.”
Though Abhinav, a second-year student majoring in BA Economics, could easily rely on his parents for the money to fund his studies, he chose to set up the mushroom farm to not only support his academic pursuits but also to launch a fully-fledged agri-startup once he completes his education. His mother, Rosy Joseph, a retired high school teacher, assists him in packaging the mushrooms for delivery to various shops in the city. Abhinav, who gets up at 5 am every day, spends hours each day tending to his mushrooms, carefully monitoring temperature and humidity levels to ensure the perfect conditions for mushroom growth.
“After returning from college, I spend a few hours at the farm cleaning and preparing the bed for fresh mushrooms. My mother helps me in packing the harvested mushrooms,” he said.
His mushroom farm has gained a loyal customer base, including local food stores and individual buyers who appreciate the freshness and quality of his produce. His ultimate goal is to establish a sustainable agri-startup that promotes the use of unused urban spaces for agriculture.
(This article is written by journalism student Altiya Boban of St Albert’s College, Ernakulam as part of our Youth Skill Development Initiative organised in association with St Albert’s College and Global Educational Consultants)