Friday, October 21, 2011

Kaushalendra Kumar

From IIM Ahmedabad to selling vegetables in Patna, Kaushalendra has had a rather eventful journey. He launched a project called ‘Samriddhi’ in February 2007. It focuses on mobilizing and organizing the informal and fragmented vegetable sector of Bihar.

He went to IIM Ahmedabad and it is there that he conceptualized and gave shape to this project under the guidance of his teachers. He started the project in 2007 with Rs. 25,000 which was scholarship money that he got for being the best student. Today his business is doing a turnover of Rs. 9 lakhs and he has a 14 staff member office with almost 1000 farmers and 80 vendors associated with him. Samriddhi is a source of employment for over 500 people, thereby feeding as many families.

He has divided the farmers into the “Vegetable Producer Company” and the sellers into the “Vegetable Marketing Company”. The goal of Samriddhi is to create opportunities of profitable and dignified self-employment for the families dependent on Agricultural sector, especially disadvantaged sections (Farmers, farm labourers, agriculture produce vendors and many others), ensuring sustainable livelihoods, enriched environment, improved quality of life and good human values.

Kaushalendra has been working towards professionalizing vegetable street vendors and marginal growers, and empowering them to face the future challenges in the new global economy; thus creating wealth and prosperity from farm gate to food plate. He started off with procurement of only 5 Kgs of vegetables and now dabbles in 800-900 tonnes. The farmers produce the vegetables, then directly send them to Patna after coding and labeling them. Post that they get redistributed at the Patna Centre and sent to various markets , hotels and houses. This ensures that both the producers and the buyers get their due.

Apart from the distribution he has also started Free Home delivery of vegetables. If a client thinks the veggies are not fresh, or are over priced he will take them back. For Kaushalendra gaining the trust of his clients is as important as gaining the trust of farmers and vendors.

Samriddhi has a public private partnership with Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) Patna. Also recently, Punjab National Bank (PNB) has sanctioned Rs. 50 Lakh to the project.

Kaushalendra envisages to make Bihar the vegetable hub of the nation and to develop brand Bihar in the vegetable sector. He is soon going to open two collection centres, namely in Fatuha and Ekangar Sarai block of Bihar. In the future he wants to extend this to cereals and get into Water purification schemes in Bihar. He wishes to see Bihar on the world map because he feels it has a lot to give to the world.

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