Presenting an unconventional investment option and an opportunity to experience farm life, Hosachiguru, a Bengaluru-based agriculture asset management startup, was founded in 2014 by Sriram Chitlur & Ashok J. Srinath Setty later joined the team as the third core member.
Hosachiguru helps buyers own and manage well-curated farmlands for long-term wealth benefits. The name Hosachiguru is the merger of Kannada terms ‘hosa’ (meaning ‘new’) and ‘chiguru’ (meaning ‘sprout’)
“The idea was to make investing in agricultural land financially attractive while also choosing to live a greener life and giving back to nature,” Srinath Setty, Founder, Hosachiguru tells DH.
Agricultural asset management is an age-old concept in India, Setty says. “However, it is only recently that agricultural land management is available to everyday people as a service model. Often people are demotivated from farmland ownership due to the high capital and maintenance costs that come with a single land-holding, not to mention marketing of the produce. Hosachiguru offers a model that not only manages your agricultural land but also makes you a part of a larger like-minded community of urban farmers,” he explains.
Hosachiguru raised an undisclosed amount from an angel investor about 4 years ago by Venkat Narayan, CEO at Prestige Group. The company currently has 20 sustainable projects with 1,000+ acres of land under cultivation. Hosachiguru has planted over a million trees and has close to $30 million assets under management.
The company is expected to close the financial year with a turnover of Rs 50 crore, according to Setty. On the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, he says, “Surprisingly, we received the maximum number of enquiries for farmland investments during the pandemic and we continue to, even now. We understood that this was really a wake up call for many who felt trapped in the city environment and yearned for a meaningful investment that had a multitude of personal, environmental and community benefits.”
Setty mentions that their farms are smart-farms supported by sensors and IoT devices that allow precise planning of the startup’s operations. “Our aim is to use precision agriculture to make educated decisions, supported by scientific research that is mutually beneficial for our customers and the environment. We also intend to start the Farm to Fork model for fresh veggies and greens from the farms that will be closer to Bengaluru.”
A majority of Hosachiguru farms are located at the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh border. This year, the company plans to launch projects expanding into more prime areas in Karnataka. “With the Land Reforms Act, 2020 now permitting anyone to own agricultural land, the market has never been bigger for us and we plan to service this to the best of our ability,” says Setty.
He explains that the cost of owning a farmland depends on the land size, project type, and location. Buyers can choose from ¼ acre, ½ acre and 1 acre plots with price ranging between Rs 18 lakh and Rs 60 lakh. The monthly cost could vary from 20 paise per sq. feet to 40 paise per sq. feet based on the crop and size of land.
“There are certain fixed maintenance costs that are applicable to all farmland holders at Hosachiguru. These include essential services such as security and surveillance, water supply, electricity, and retreat maintenance. Fixed maintenance costs are mandatory. However, an individual farmland owner can opt out of the farming operation services such as plantation management, fertiliser input, irrigation, etc. offered by Hosachiguru at any point, ”
Explaining the benefits of owning a managed farmland, Setty says, the landowner can grow crops of his/her choice or even grow a mini forest with timber trees. The proceeds from the sale of the crop can be enjoyed by the owners of the property for short-term wealth and timber such as teak and sandalwood can be grown to generate long-term income.
“In addition to the economic benefits, a managed farmland opens up opportunities for individuals and families to live in communities away from the city while remaining connected to it. It could be a weekend get away option or a temporary work-from-home setup,” he adds.