Nisarg Nirman established by the husband-wife duo of Mr.Makar and Churi and Mrs. Anjali snowpe as,purple cabbage, avocado,asparagus, coloured capsicum and lettuce besides others.
The company is headquartered in Matunga, Mumbai. Nisarg was founded in 1987 but started functioning full fledged from 1992 and then from 1997 was in full time business. “Earlier I was in engineering industry,” says Mr. Churi, who is an engineer by qualification.
Contract Farming Agreement
Nisarg Nirman has two farms, one is at Bordi,Ghol was station, near Dahanu, Maharashtra,spread over 4.5 acres of land and other is at Aware village, Shahapur on Mumbai Nasik Road, which is spread over an area of 20 acres.“We are growing many things. But it is not sufficient and that is why we are growing at different farms at different places in India according to climatic conditions at these places,” says Mr. Churi.
The company has contract farming agreement with farmers from all over India. “We have trained at least 150 farmers through out India if not more, in cultivating exotic vegetables.We engage them as contract farmers and give them buy back guarantee. They supply us at fixed schedule and rates though out the year,”he states. Mr. Churi gives these farmers technical know-how, initially helping the min procuring seeds and then guide them to the right people who would supply it to them He has tie-ups with 40 odd farms in places like Karnataka, Kerala, Shimla, Kullu and Ooty besides Maharashtra.
When asked from where he learned the know how of cultivating these exotic vegetables, Mr. Churi maintains, “Myfather-in-law has expertise in growing thesevegetables and my wife is the real person who is behind all this. She is very good knowledge about farming. We were the first ones to grow asparagus successfully throughout the year. We started with supplying to Taj Hotel.”
Vegetables in Demand
According to Mr. Churi out of all the vegetables grown in his farm the ones mostin demand are asparagus, baby corn, coloured capsicum, broccoli, ice berglettuce, all lettuces, sweet corn and zucchinni. All these vegetables are grown in India and nothing is imported. “It has started since last 7 to 8 years ago. Earlier all these were imported by all the hotels. We have helped develop the farming of these exotic vegetables in several places in India -right from Ooty to Nainital and Simla and also in many places in Maharashtra and Gujarat,” says Mr. Churi.
The company also supplies fruits like rambutan, mango steen, durian, dragon,makroot to hotels. “Earlier all this were imported but now we have started growingthem in India. Mango steen and rambutan are grown at Karnataka. Makroot is grown at our farms,” informs Mr. Churi.
Nisarg, not only supplies exotic vegetables and fruits to all five star hotels in Mumbai,but also to hotels in Goa, Surat and Kolkata.“Earlier we were supposed to also supply to Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad, but now there is good business in Mumbai itself as a result it has become difficult to supply to all,” says Mr. Churi. “All these five star hotels since last many years have been making yearly contracts with us since the beginning. So whenever a new hotel of the same group comes up, they automatically approach us as they know us personally and we have been supplying to them. Sometimes we also approach them,”he adds.
Today Nisarg supplies vegetables to five seven-star hotels and 21 five-star hotels like ITC Grand Maratha, Marriott Apartments,The Leela Palace, Goa, The Orchid, Taj Land’s End, Taj Air Caterers, JW Marriott,Rodas, Lotus Suites, Le Meridian, Hyatt Regency, Grand Intercontinental, Holiday Inn,Grand Hyatt and ITC Grand Central besides others.
There are 20 people working in the office of Nisarg in Mumbai. “At our farm about 20 to25 people are employed and further based on our requirement we employ more people if needed. However, there are more that 300people working indirectly for us,” says Mr.Churi. The company’s turnover for the financial year 2004-2005 was around Rs.2crores. Mr. Churi maintains that he invested more than Rs. 40 lakhs in plant and machinery. Mr. Churi says that the demand for exotic vegetables and fruits is at present increasing. “We need more and more material as you are aware that more and more five star hotels are coming up with increasing flow of tourists. There is demand for our products in export market, too. We have started exporting to some extent.”
Mr. Churi says with exceeding demand, more farmers should enter into the cultivation of exotic fruits and vegetables. “Many farmers are into cultivation of conventional crops and hesitate in the beginning to start this cultivation. But when they hear and see the success stories of others, they get inspired and come forward to cooperate. These farmers are mainly young generation people and are always ready to develop something new, he says, adding, “Looking at our growth and success they are sure that they will get very good consultation and market. We want to develop entire India and we have to target the export market as earlier all these products were being imported. Even Prince Charles had asked us when we would start exporting. I had promised him that within a couple of years you will come to know that we are exporting.”
He further relates of the memorable incident when he met Prince Charles along with his wife, “British High commission had organised their party at Hotel Taj Mahal and 300 prominent people from India were called. They had invited both of us too and we were to ldthat Prince Charles had been briefed about our activities. He spoke with us for about10 minutes and he even asked for my visiting card. I will remember the day throughout my life.” Mr. Churi adds with pride, “We must mention that we are pioneer in this field. We have built up the road and now many people have started walking on it. We always feel very happy and proud about our achievement.”