Four software engineers, former employees of Wipro in Bangalore quit their jobs four months ago and made a paradigm shift right out of the world of technology. They turned entrepreneurs, and set up a milk dairy in Kodihalli village of Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district.
In the milk business, there's no escape from mooing cows, dung and calving, but Shashi Kumar, Ranjith Mukundan, Venkatesh Sesasaye and Praveen Nale have no regrets about giving up 15 years of high-flying careers and plum salaries.
Says Shashi Kumar, "We planned to take up dairy farming as our business venture and set up Akshayakalpa Farms and Foods Ltd, headed by G N S Reddy and T Prasana, who have been in the business for many years. It has 21 partners, including the four of us. Our aim is to promote rural entrepreneurship in the agro sector to create employment and prosperity in villages, to prevent the educated unemployed from abandoning agriculture and migrating to cities."
So they applied their understanding of technology to their business, to benefit both farmers and consumers. The milk dairy will be set up at a cost of Rs 15 crore on 24 acres, and 300 marginal farmers (those with less than 4.5 acres of land) will be selected within a 15-sqkm radius of Kodihalli village to supply milk to the dairy.
"The farmers will be educated on modern cattle-rearing methods, milking machines and increasing milk production. The dairy will be set up in five months and we will be recruiting 500 villagers," says Ranjith Mukundan.
"The company will help the farmers get loans from banks to set up satellite farms and purchase cows. The milkman will sell milk directly to our company without any middlemen, the transportation of milk and regular medical check-ups of cows will be free for milkmen registered with our company," he added.
The advantages of setting up satellite farms are many - each will be equipped with sensors, GPS, pedometers and other equipment to monitor and trace the movements of cows, how much milk a cow produces every day, and to check the animals' body temperature and keep tabs on their health. All this data will be monitored by the dairy, and we have developed a software for satellite farms, Ranjith added.