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Land Accelerator South Asia Cohort 2020

Download the press release hereJuly 17, 2020

The World Resources Institute India, along with Sangam Ventures, New Delhi is proud to introduce the first Land Accelerator South Asia cohort in line with WRI’s successful global Land Accelerators across Africa and Latin America.

The program is funded by the IKEA Foundation and supported by Startup India and Invest India as the outreach partners and Labs Indigram as the community partner.

We have a geographically diversified group of 15 exciting companies who aim to restore farms and forests through innovative business models in the domains of sustainable agroforestry, ecological restoration, organic land amendments, Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), climate smart irrigation, etc.

By fostering entrepreneurship, this first-of-its-kind program supports leaders who develop sustainable and profitable business models to restore lands across South Asia. We aim to support them by means of dedicated mentorship, technical expertise, marketing and networking, funding for scaling up and accessing global restoration ecosystem focussed at developing entrepreneurship.

Land Accelerator Cohort

Here is a complete list of companies/startups in the cohort:

Jestin Pauls

Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Co purchases and markets NTFPs produced by indigenous people in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve in Tamil Nadu, representing 1609 tribal shareholders from over 160 villages. The company sustainably harvests non-timber forest products ranging from wild gooseberry, to shikakai and soap nuts to supply wholesalers while paying forest-dwellers purchase prices 20-25% above the market rate.
SECTOR : NTFP value chains
FOUNDER : Jestin Pauls
FOUNDER : Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu

Shahnaz Shaikh

AI-GENIX International replaces pesticides/chemicals with its Artificially Intelligent pest traps which increase yields by 30-40% and reduce input cost when compared to chemical pest management. The company has sold over 3,000 self-installable pest traps available in premium and general models for small and marginal farmers for all field crops. These traps currently secure lands in excess of 3,000 hectares.
SECTOR: Ecological Restoration
FOUNDER: Shahnaz Shaikh
LOCATION: Thane, Maharashtra

Sheeba Sen

Alaap is pioneering a “forest in a box” concept to give small farmers all necessary tools to develop small, profitable multicrop farms to implement agroforestry on their lands. The tools include access to technical know-how, seedlings, land amendments, and financing. Additionally, the company has planted 16 dense native forests since its founding in 2018.
SECTOR: Sustainable Forestry/Agroforestry
FOUNDER: Sheeba Sen
LOCATION: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Satendra Lilhare

Bastar se Bazaar Tak works with 250 small and marginal tribal farmers from 7 villages in Chattisgarh on sustainable harvesting and post-harvest value addition/processing of NTFPs including Custard Apple (Sitaphal), Palash flower, Tamarind (Imali) and Black Plum (Jamun), thus avoiding deforestation and providing employment and sustainable livelihood to forest dwellers in this remote area.
SECTOR: NTFP value chains
FOUNDER: Satendra Lilhare
LOCATION: Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh

Amit Godse

Bee Basket rescues honeybees in urban centers - having rescued beehives for over 5,000 urban residential and commercial clients in Pune. The company then relocates the beehives to farms and forests, while also providing training to forest dwellers and farmers on sustainable honey harvesting. Bee Basket also provides market access to the honey harvesting forest-dwellers, thus preserving floral and faunal biodiversity and creating local employment.
SECTOR: Ecological restoration
FOUNDER: Amit Godse
LOCATION: Pune, Maharashtra

Anubhav Mittal

Bio Craft Innovation developed a patent-pending process to create polymers made from bamboo, rice and wheat waste that can be used in any plastic manufacturing machine to make products ranging from silverware, to food storage containers, thus replacing single use plastics. The company is seeking more suppliers of bamboo and is in the process of developing its own bamboo plantations through local community engagement.
SECTOR: Sustainable Forestry/Agroforestry
FOUNDER: Anubhav Mittal
LOCATION: Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Buddhi Prakash Gurjar

EF Polymer has created a 100% organic and fully biodegradable water retention polymer that is mixed into soil to reduce water and fertilizer requirements and increase yield by over 30% in arid lands. The polymer later degrades into the soil and releases micronutrients. It is suited for cultivation on dry, hilly, and barren lands growing any field crops.
SECTOR: Organic Land Amendment
FOUNDER: Buddhi Prakash Gurjar
LOCATION: Jodhpur, Rajasthan

VP Sharma

Gratitude Farms creates agroforestry systems on under-utilized or abandoned farmland covering 20 hectares, in 6 districts of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu through its organic “Food Forest” model with multi-cropping tree-based agroforestry interventions. The company employs 39 veterans (ex-soldiers) of the Indian Army to prepare and manage the organic farms in a disciplined manner through organic fertilizers.
SECTOR: Sustainable Forestry/Agroforestry, Organic Land Amendment
LOCATION: Puducherry, India

Priyangshu Sama

Innotech Interventions restores land and water ecosystems that have been contaminated with hazardous waste from mining and oil extraction, with the use of their signature Phyto-assisted Land conditioning and Microbial Augmentation Technology. It uses native and indigenous microbes and flora and employs local residents to implement their techniques and reforestation. They have restored 3,000 hectares in northeast India.
SECTOR: Ecological Restoration
FOUNDER: Priyangshu Sama
LOCATION: Guwahati, Assam

Gunajit Brahma

Jeev Anksh Eco Productsprovides market linkages to over 10,000 farmers of organic and indigenous products in Northeast India, fetching them better returns and international market access. The team also manages a 1000-hectare organic farm of its own. Featured products include Black Rice, Red Rice, Aromatic Joha Rice, Turmeric, Ginger, King chili, Black Pepper, and Sichuan Pepper.
SECTOR: Organic Products Value Chain development
FOUNDER: Gunajit Brahma
LOCATION: Guwahati, Assam

Debarati Bhaumik

Rhodotion has implemented an integrated natural farming and agroforestry system in Himalayan regions of Bengal,Uttarakhand and North Eastern States, where usually monocrop tea reigns. The company has integrated coffee, avocado trees, orange trees, herbs and other indegineous plants alongside tea bushes, which has resulted in land stabilization and three times the traditional income for over 350 farmers.
SECTOR: Organic Products Value Chain development, sustainable forestry/agroforestry
FOUNDER: Subhankar Sanyal
LOCATION: Kolkata, West Bengal

Miller Rajendran

SenzAgro is a precision agricultural firm that sells a soil sensing system that increases yield by 20%, decreases water usage by 40%, and decreases the usage of pesticides and fertilizers by 40%. They are active on seven farms covering 10,000 hectares across Sri Lanka. The team is also building smart irrigation solutions for the plantation sector including Rubber, Tea and Sugarcane.
SECTOR: Smart Irrigation
FOUNDER: Miller Rajendran
LOCATION: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Nischay B L

SquareRoots works with over 21 small landholder clients/absentee farmers to transform their 210 hectares of land from abandoned farms to thriving agroforestry systems with eight tree varieties utilizing a unique co-financing and buy-back agreement. They are developing model agroforestry farms and also providing drip irrigation systems to small farmers.
SECTOR: Ecological Restoration
FOUNDER: Nischay B L
LOCATION: Hassan, Karnataka

Vinit Phadnis

Urdhvam Environmental Technologies Pvt Ltd is an environmental services company that increases the water storage potential of borewells, ensuring wells can continue to provide water in the light of population growth and climate change. Their technology has improved farm output and income, helped mitigate the vulnerability of farmers due to weather shocks, and reduced soil salinity due to less salt in irrigation water. They have provided services at over 700 borewells throughout India.
SECTOR: Ecological Restoration
FOUNDER: Vinit Phadnis
LOCATION: Pune ,Maharashtra

Bhushan Jambhekar

Vasumitra Life Energies offers a suite of 100% organic fertilizers and plant nutrients that reduce the amount of water used by 50% and chemicals used by 70%, yet resulting in higher yields. The goal is to make the transition to organic painless and profitable for the farmers. They currently have a presence with over 400 retailers throughout India and have aspirations of inspiring farmers globally.
SECTOR: Organic Land Ammendment
FOUNDER: Bhushan Jambhekar
LOCATION: Pune, Maharashtra

Partners Land Accelerator

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