Smart greenhouses for Indian small farmers
Kheyti is a young social enterprise that works with smallholder farmers to help them improve their livelihoods. Kheyti designs, produces, sells and helps finance a modular, low-cost 312-square-meter greenhouse that comes bundled with end-to-end support to assist every stage of growing, harvesting and sale. We supported Kheyti to build the case for their innovative solution for an initial period of one year. During this time, Kheyti’s “greenhouse-in-a-box” allowed 50 poor farmers to increase their yield sevenfold using 90% less water. This brought the number of farmers equipped with Kheyti’s innovative greenhouse to 125.
India’s farming sector is in crisis. Agriculture has become increasingly unremunerative despite feeding the entire country and still constituting its biggest source of employment (one in four Indians is a farmer or agricultural worker).
Greenhouses have long been used for commercial flower and vegetable production in India, but conventional designs are too large and expensive for smallholder farmers.
Aiming to provide a pathway out of poverty for smallholder farmers, Kheyti put a modular low-cost greenhouse to the test which occupies just 2% of the average land area used by smallholder farmers and costs 60% less than regular greenhouses. The design incorporates a drip-irrigation system that enables farmers to use 90% less water on average, breathable netting that covers the structure to prevent pests from entering, and a cloth shade at the top that reduces the temperature inside to protect the crops from excess heat. Each greenhouse comes with end-to-end support, including high-quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, training, and mobile-based advisory services, flexible loans and connections to vendors and markets.
Thanks to our support, Kheyti’s “greenhouse-in-a-box” enabled 50 farmers in the Telangana State to increase their yield sevenfold and their annual income by 62% on average after just one year. This brought the number of farmers equipped with Kheyti’s innovative greenhouse to 125.
We’re continuing to support Kheyti for a further three years to help address the significant challenges that lie ahead, including the need to increase and mainstream the farmer enrolment process and simplify and shorten loan disbursement