IIM Topper Making Crores By Selling Vegetables, Transformed 20,000 Farmers’ Life
Nowadays, MBA is considered a great degree to have and bag high-paying jobs. The younger generation is going after an MBA degree from a reputed institute and then associate with a large corporate houses.
Imagine how big corporations chase students with a gold medal from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad (IIMA). Not just in India, offers pour in from overseas, too, with attractive pay packages. However, there is a rare breed that wants to be an employer rather than an employee. They want to work for their own country and bring changes in the society.
Kaushalendra of Patna has done exactly that. Born in Mohammadpur village of Nalanda district, Bihar, Kaushalendra is the youngest of his siblings. Both his parents were teachers in the village. When he was in STD 5, he shifted to a new school 50 km from his home. The specialty of this school is that all the facilities are provided free of cost for talented students including foods, clothes, stay, and study material.
After completing his school, he wanted to pursue B.Tech from an IIT, but things did not work out and he did his B.Tech from Indian Council of Agriculture Research Junagadh, Gujarat instead. During his course, he understood that the people in cities live a much better life compared to most of the people in his village where migration for jobs is a phenomenon.
Kaushalendra decided to do something for his home state Bihar and change its scenario by providing employment to people. After passing B.Tech in 2003, he got a job with monthly salary of Rs 6,000 in a firm that made irrigation instruments. But in a few days, he left the job to prepare for the CAT examination aiming for IIM, Ahmedabad. He secured the top position and got the gold medal in the final year of his MBA degree.
After completing management studies, Kaushalendra decided not to take up any job and returned to Patna in 2007. He founded Kaushalya Foundation along with his brother, to help increase coordination between farmers and vendors to build an organized vegetable business. The initial days were not easy because of the scarcity of funds.
People made a mockery of him for being unemployed even after securing top degrees from top institutions. But he did not give up and launched Samriddhi Scheme and became a hit. Currently, over 20,000 farmers joined his mission under Kaushalya Foundation and has around 700 employees.
Kaushalendra is trying to add frozen vegetable products in the retail supply chain model among vegetable farmers and sellers scattered across Bihar. The staffs associated with this project collect vegetables from the farmers and bring them to the vendors. All possible help and advice related to farming are given to the farmers. Kaushalendra wants to make a firm where the vegetable farmers will change the nature of market like FDI in retail so that they became capable of bargaining.
After collecting vegetables from fields, it is necessary to maintain its freshness. So, Kaushalya Foundation has prepared ice-cold push carts for narrow streets of Patna and Nalanda. These carts are made of fibers and have a capacity of lifting 200 kg weight. There are electronic scales, too. The vegetables in it are fresh for 5-6 days. In order to counter big retailers, push carts deliver cheap and fresh vegetables to customers at their door steps. One Fiber Push Cart costs up to Rs 40,000 – 50,000.
When starting a small shop in front of a school in Patna, the first day’s earning was Rs 22. Today, the annual profit of Kaushalya Foundation has reached Rs 5 crore. Many social organizations, agricultural institutions, and banks are joining and co-operating Kaushalendra.
From the beginning of Samriddhi Scheme, the income of the farmers has increased by 25-50 percent whereas the income of vegetable vendors has increased by 50-100 percent . The average monthly earnings of vendors have now reached Rs 8,000. Previously, they were working for 14 hours a day, but now they need to work only for 8 hours. Kaushalendra credits his success to his teachers and friends of IIM, A. He also believes that his success is due to his courage and mental strength.
This initiative of Kaushalendra is undoubtedly a great effort to revive the conditions of the vegetable growers and vendors in Bihar. At the same time, this is an inspiration for those who think there are no opportunities in the agriculture sector. Farmers have knowledge of only farming. They are mostly uneducated to understand science, technology, government schemes, advanced varieties, new equipment, marketing strategies etc.
Thus, there are many opportunities that the educated youths can provide to these uneducated farmers and also become self-employed. They can also protect the interests of these farmers who are being exploited. All one need is a strong will and determination like Kaushalendra.