Class of 2021
The story of Parvata Foods began when Siddhi Karnani was an MBA student on a field trip to Sikkim state in northeast India. While speaking to local farmers, she learned they didn’t use chemical fertilisers or pesticides and that the area was becoming a breeding ground for the organic food industry, yet their produce was sold as ‘conventional’ and they weren’t paid the right price. Back on campus, she teamed up with Anurag Agarwal, co-founding a social-commercial enterprise that aims to uplift the living standards of the farmers of Sikkim and other Himalayan Indian states while empowering them with knowledge, technology and techniques.
Now with more than 2,000 marginal and small farmers on board, Parvata Foods runs workshops teaching modern agricultural practices and helping producers to implement them. It also operates an organic spice processing plant for ginger, turmeric, large cardamom and buckwheat. It has redefined how spices are processed, implementing an innovative dehydration technology to replace the traditional sun-drying method which, due to temperature shock, causes essential oils to evaporate and lowers the quality of the product. Parvata Foods also provides on-farm collection services to farmers, with higher prices and spot cash payments. By recognising the value of organic produce and the need to pay producers fairly, Siddhi and Anurag are benefiting the entire food chain.