“We wanted to do something for ourselves, but also something to give back to the society,” shares Biplove Singh, co-founder of AeroRoots. And with AeroRoots, they have hit the nail in the head. Using state of the art Aeroponics technology, pioneered by NASA, AeroRoots brings fresh and pesticide free vegetables to peoples doorstep. “The beauty of our systems AeroRoot and AeroGarden, is that it is soilless, and automatic. So there is no need for human interventions, no need of human labour to look after the plants. The produce that you get is nutritious and pesticide free.”
Aeroponic is one the latest technological development in the agricultural sector; thus it is not widely used, and this lack of precedence brought its own set of problems to AeroRoot. “No one in Nepal knew about this technology, not even the Nepal Agricultural Research Council. There was no one to ask for help or look at for reference. We learned everything through trial and error, all our trials were backed by research, so we have piles of research material in our office” revealed Biplove. Although, Biploves family were supportive of him, mainly because they “trusted us and our work and the impact it could create in the society” his friends, and some potential customers were rather sceptical. “The concept of growing plants without any soil was not something people could easily wrap their heads around. But as time went by and as we answered all their questions they slowly started to believe in our idea.”
With 12- 13 clients and over 40 drums (AeroRoot system) sold in just 17 months, this new company has done rather well for itself. Given Nepal’s, and the world’s food security issue not only is there a huge scope for AeroRoots, but they can also play a large part in increasing access to organic and healthy food in Nepal. The number of people involved in agriculture is dwindling and Nepal is not producing enough vegetables to meet the demand. “The combination of shrinking and less fertile farmlands has led to high commercialization of vegetables. People, as a result, use non agro chemicals and pesticides to make vegetables grow overnight to meet the demands. More people want to go organic and pesticide free, and this is where we come in,” stated Biplove. “Our system not only gives you pesticide-free produce at your fingertips, but allows you to grow 60 plants in a 5 by 5 feet space, which in a traditional method would need 160-170 square feet.”
According to Biplove, it was the opportunity to learn that attracted them to the accelerator program. Through the program he hopes not only to get investments to help him grow but to also form partnerships that will help AeroRoots expand globally. Biplove plans on using the investment on research and development (R & D) “since there are no other companies before us, and chances are high that we will make mistakes. R&D will keep us in our toes and help us move forward and somewhere down the line maybe inspire others as well.” He also plans on expanding their commercial greenhouse from 8 drums to 400 drums, and also build a new greenhouse so that they “have a variety of plants in different ages”. The investment amount will help them expand to produce flowers and herbs and not just vegetables.
“We have created a platform that will allow the next generation to move this technology forward to fulfil our vision of a pesticide free world.”