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‘We have to make farming ‘cool’ for youth’

Rishabh Kapoor, an alumnus of Apeejay Stya University (ASU), and Head – R&D at Garden Valley Agrotech, says youth can help find solutions to problems plaguing the farm sector.



Rishabh, who completed his integrated (BTech + MTech) course in Biotechnology from the School of Biosciences, (ASU), Gurgaon is working with Garden Valley Agrotech, a subsidiary of Sarv Jan Sewa Educational Society. Based in Mohali, Punjab, Rishabh has expertise in organic and Hydroponics farming. In an informal chat, the 26-year-old talks about soilless farming, how agriculture can be highly profitable, how to engage youth in farming, and much more.

What made you pick Apeejay?

After class 12, I secured an admission in a medical college in Bhubaneswar, but my parents were against sending me that far away. So, I decided to look for an option in Delhi/NCR itself. I always had an interest in Biotechnology, hence I began searching for top universities for biotechnology. That’s how I came across ASU. I did extensive research about the university and its faculty and was satisfied with every parameter. I learned during my time in ASU and upon completion of my course I grabbed a job in the National Brain Research Centre in Manesar as a Research Assistant. I worked there for around one-and-half-year before switching to Garden Valley Agrotech. I look after the groups’ organic and Hydroponic farming business.

What is Hydroponic farming?

The Hydroponic System is a system of growing crops without soil, often called soilless farming. In the hydroponic system, the plant roots grow in a liquid nutrient-rich water. But, why grow crops without soil? It allows growers to produce food anywhere in the world, at any season of the year, and to net higher yields with fewer resources. A producer is not dependent on the vagaries of the weather. Not many know that plants grow 30-50% faster in hydroponic farms than in soil. With sufficient water and nutrients, the plant doesn’t have to worry so much about survival, so it can focus its energy on growing fast instead. Hydroponic systems also use less water because it is delivered in a controlled and highly efficient way. However, Hydroponic farming in India is still in its infancy but it has a huge potential to alleviate water and land stress.

Is youth interested in agriculture?  

There is very little interest. Agriculture is generally treated as something that will get you all muddy and dirty and it’s believed that there is no money in the farm sector. However, nothing could be farther from the truth.  We just signed an agreement with a prominent online grocery store in India under which we will provide them with organic fruits and vegetables. Agriculture sector is vast and if agriculture-related business is done with passion and commitment, then you can earn a very good income from it. The role of youth is critical. I believe that youth can transform the agriculture sector of India by coming up with innovative ideas and bringing technology into the sector. They can help find solutions to problems plaguing the farm sector. To generate interest of students in farming, they must be given rudimentary training in growing vegetables and fruits at school level. The government along with the corporate sector must also increase the number of scholarships for agriculture students to enhance research and development.  The effort should be to make farming ‘cool’ for youth.

How do you see the future of farming in India?  

I believe Organic agriculture will prosper in India. Post pandemic, people have become more concerned about their health. There’s a growing demand for pesticide-free food products in India as well as the world. Also, I see a lot of young professionals turning agripreneurs by taking up farming.  Cumulative effects of technology over the years will change the face of agriculture.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]