For Sagar Krishna, distributed and sustainable growth were ideas that mattered for a very long time. At eSamudaay he facilitated the journey of aspirants into Circle Promoters via a process of convince and convert. Somewhere in the first few months, his own words converted Sagar from a facilitator to an entrepreneur.
In the process he not only created the first Producer Circle in the eSamudaay community, Sagar also realised his true potential as an innovator and social entrepreneur. "It was a tough decision to make, but a necessary one as somewhere at the back of my mind, I felt what better way to convince others than to do it oneself first?"
The idea of using collective intelligence and community-based farming to create sustainable produce that caters to responsible customers was just too exciting. Sagar set up Samhita Ventures so that he could partner with other agents of change in agriculture. Today, his team supports farmers from the Chamarajanagar area of Karnataka produce quality jaggery and sell it across the state.
Having spent considerable time in the twin areas of product and innovation, Sagar wanted to break the mould of only large companies innovating. "It's not as if innovation wasn't happening as we are the ones to give the world "Jugaad", but it had to happen organically," he says. While there is a lot of scientific research going on, innovation also has to resonate with the poor farmers.
The focus has been on localisation which means people working on the project are from the region. Once the jaggery is produced, there are sundry other activities such as packaging that come in. So, Samhita proposes to use local resources to package and deliver after the produce gets transported from the farmgate. "I want to employ more women in some of these activities," says Sagar.
The idea is not just to be a seller of a product, the buyers also need to get instilled with the need to consume local products so that the full impact of a circular economy can be felt. So, Sagar Krishna says jaggery is just a start for the company and Chamarajanagar. There could be any number of other products including artefacts that can be produced and distributed from the region.