Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Cannabis - The Road not taken...

I have so far talked about so many Indian startups be it on food, health, e-commerce, tech, etc. (you can read about them all here just in case you missed any - Interesting Startups) But this very startup shook me real hard! This is the story of a bunch of cool people who are working on something that's seen as "not-so-cool" Can you guess such an industry!? Wait! Let me give you a hint. This industry constitutes close to 60% of Indian workforce and contributes about 17% to our GDP. Yes! the earthy industry - Agriculture.

On hearing the word Agriculture, people may end up picturing green fields, villages, farmer deaths and what not! But, can you imagine a bunch of young people setting up a company in this arena? Surely not huh!? Well this is the story of the Bombay Hemp Company whose vision is to Educate, Cultivate and Alleviate. It was formed by a group of seven friends who are first generation agriculture entrepreneurs with zero experience in this field. 

What they do is quite interesting. Have you ever heard of Cannabis? Oh no not the one that gets you high (Cannabis Indica also called Weed/Bhang/Marijuana) We are discussing Cannabis Sativa, which is a useful and legal form of Cannabis. It allegedly could be used in 41 different industries and it has more than 25000 end uses. Hey! did you know Henry Ford made his first car using industrial hemp? Well, I did not! This industrial hemp grows close to 12 feet in three months and it is called a trillion dollar super crop. 

All said and done, how can it be used? and how are our "Cool-farmers" at Bombay Hemp Company using it? Well, in many ways! They collaborate with farmers to make the following products

1. It is used to make a form of brick which is used in the construction of "Green Buildings" This concept is pretty prominent in the West and is quickly gaining fame in India too. The speciality of this brick is it contains lime, which continuously absorbs CO2, thereby making it stronger as time passes! Also, it costs much lesser than the regular bricks

2. Hemp can be used to manufacture textiles, which are natural and require lesser resources than regular cotton

3. It is also being used to make Hemp foods, which according to the World Health Organization are considered the world's most balanced nutritional food! 

The best part about Bombay Hemp company is that they are not only carving a new industry from scratch but also are also helping farmers understand and implement the same considering how little is the land required to cultivate hemp and how much revenue it can generate. This could be the start of a new revolution uplifting the agriculture sector. Kudos to the Bombay Hemp Company! 

Check out their website for more details:

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