Food grown on our rooftop means less transport and refrigeration costs and emissions which is not only a good news for the environment but also for our health.
MetroKheti is an early startup established to help you to get started on your rooftop farming journey. This startup not only offers plants, seeds and agricultural tools but also offers e-consultation as well as field facilities to make your Metro Kheti journey smooth and easy! Blincventures.com recently interviewed one of the co-founders and CEO of MetroKheti, Ms. Pralisha Adhikari, an Agriculture graduate, to know all about this new venture and its vision to bring a change in our city areas through farming!
Read on to learn more about MetroKheti.
Can you tell us how the concept of MetroKheti came about?
We have all seen and experienced a major price hike on vegetables, especially in the urban area, during the time of calamities or uncertain situations like the current pandemic, often due to the shortage of agricultural products. But we fail to notice, we have the ability to control the shortage if we are able to utilize the untouched spaces at our houses, mainly the terrace area.
So, with the motive to address this main point of the people in city areas we came up with the idea of MetroKherti and decided to launch it during the crisis.
What made you decide that it was the perfect time to launch a venture when a lot of other businesses were shutting down?
With the lockdown imposed, the daily lives of people started changing. Now, it was not normal to go out, buy fresh veggies every morning. But again, despite the fear factor and health risk, people still went out to get groceries increasing the possibility of spread of the virus. So, we felt that this was the time people could benefit from our products and services to the optimal extent.
In addition to this, with remote working being the new norm, people had more time in hand. So, a lot of people started gardening as a hobby, which also gave us a single that it was the right time to dive in.
What are the products and services MetroKheti is offering as of now?
We offer the majority of products needed for rooftop farming. We deliver fertilizers, grow bags, agricultural tools, potting mixtures and even plants and herbs, which we get from the local vendors. Along with this, we also offer e-consultation and field consultation facilities. We try to answer and provide solutions to every queries that our customers have regarding farming and gardening. In addition to this, if needed we also visit our customers’ place, make a plan for them and provide them the necessary solution and information.
What makes MetroKheti different from other startups that are working in a similar area as of yours?
I honestly believe that every startup is unique in its own way. For us I’d like to point out two things that make us different.
The very first is our team. We have a diverse team which has been carefully formed to run a venture that creates an impact. We have 5 co-founders in total with different educational backgrounds. Similarly, among the cofounders, most of us are agricultural graduates. So we know what we are doing, we have the technical expertise, skills as well as experience which allows us to add value to each and every customer associated with us.
The next is the value we offer to our customers. We give utmost importance to the customer experience and after sales service. After selling our products we make sure that the customers have adequate knowledge and information. We basically try to be part of their farming journey.
These two things, I believe not only differentiates us but are also our strength.
Like you mentioned earlier you have a diverse team. So, can you share some information about how this diverse team came together?
Sure! So, like I stated we have five co-founders, we were complete strangers to one another in the very beginning. What happened was Chewan Rai, one of the co-founders, brought all four of us together. We sat together, talked about our missions, visions and possibilities. And luckily things clicked and we decided to plunge in to start this venture.
What are the major challenges running MetroKheti?
With lockdown a lot of people have started gardening but again despite people being interested in gardening and our products and services, it was somewhat difficult for us to meet the demand as well as get the products from the vendors. The mobility of our products and services I would say was the very first challenge we faced.
Another challenge is the mindset people have regarding rooftop farming. People still feel that rooftop farming is not a viable option and it won’t ensure self sufficiency. In addition people are more cost conscious, they look for cheaper inputs but don’t consider the output. Our products and services are to some extent at the higher end, so we often find it difficult to make people understand.
Any customer experience you’d like to share with us?
Few months back one of our customers bought cauliflower seedlings from us and only after 1.5 months they got a high quality bud. So, they were very happy and were praising us. These experiences that our customers share further motivates us to do better.
MetroKheti is not just another venture operating in the farming industry. Rather it’s a collective vision of 5 diverse individuals to promote urban farming in urban/metro cities to create a self sustainable and sufficient future
Where can customers find the products?
They can place an order on our website or in our Facebook and Instagram page. I would say Facebook would be the best option as of now, as we are very active there. But in future, our website will be more convenient to place an order as we are working on incorporating cart systems. Also, the customers can give us a call, we have clearly stated the contact details on our website as well as social media handles.
What are your future plans for MetroKheti?
As of now we are limited to selling products and providing consultation services. So, along with this, in the future we want to create a MetroKheti community which will not only include households but also educational institutions. Nowadays, kids have minimal knowledge about farming but this area is something everyone needs to be aware about. It is important for us to know where the food we eat is coming from and how it is grown. So, to ensure this, we have the plan of collaborating with schools to teach students the basics of farming.
Moreover we also have plans of approaching restaurants and hotels. With rooftop farming they will not only be able to grow their own vegetables but will also be able to build trust among their customers regarding the herbs/ vegetables they use.
How has your journey been so far? And what changes have you seen in yourself?
Running a business and doing business is something I am completely new to. I don’t come from a business background, so everyday is a new experience for me be it in terms of learning or personal growth.
In addition, I have met some amazing and supportive people. I honestly think co-founding MetroKheti with my panthers has taught me to value teamwork, team wellbeing and company wellbeing. Yes, so this 5 months time has been enriching and an eye opener for me.
Is there anything you’d like to young aspiring entrepreneurs?
We youths always want an easy way out, so we tend to give up when things get tough or when we experience a setback, forgetting the fact that tough situations makes us stronger and failures are the pillar of success. So, I’d like to encourage everyone to take the step they have been hesitating to take due to the fear of failure. Yes, you may have a breakdown but trust me you’ll be proud of yourself at the end. Being an entrepreneur and helping solve a problem is really fulfilling.
Interviewed and Article by Trishna Shakya