It is a common notion that the vegetables and fruits that we consume on a daily basis are free from any kind of detrimental substance and would cause less to no harm to our health, giving us the essential nutrients. Well, Guess What? We have got it wrong.
This may come as a surprise to many people that most of the foods we consume contain highly contaminated pesticide residue in them. Even though pesticides are used to protect the crops from insects, rodents and other organisms, several reports suggest that the residue let from high levels of pesticides can lead to the development of diseases such as cancer, kidney and lung ailments.
Now one might suggest that switching to organic food might help reduce the consumption of contaminated veggies, but the prices of organics are quite expensive and the common man of the country won’t be able to afford these.
This is when Avilash Mahananda, an alumnus of KIIT, Bhubaneswar and later IIM, Lucknow stepped up and founded C&G Agroventures in 2016, which aimed to provide toxin-free vegetables and fruits to as many people as possible at affordable prices.
“Unless we provide these vegetables to everyone, there will be no impact. And our mission is to reach out to as many people as possible.” - Avilash Mahananda
At C&G Agroventures, the vegetables are purchased directly from the farmers without any mediation and then later subjected to a three-step process which reduces the chemicals in them by 60-90 percent.
The first step is ozonization, where the veggies are left to float in a closed chamber with ozone gas pumped into the water. This breaks down the pesticides into harmless compounds. In the second step, they are put through an ultrasound signal of a pre-determined frequency. In the last step, the vegetables are washed in water which contains about 0.001% solution of potassium permanganate.
Avilash and his co-workers claim that this process not only reduces the pesticide level but also increases the shelf-life of the vegetables. They are then packed with the utmost sanitation with a barcode that informs about the farm where the veggies have originated.
Avilash’s noble idea had to face a lot of obstacles before execution including accumulation of funds from entities, however, his friends and family well totally supportive and guided him throughout his journey.
In the near future, the young entrepreneur has planned to set up a model farm on the 20 acres of land that he has acquired in Balangir district. This land will be established for the farmers will be informed about the different technologies and techniques that they can implement in their own farms. The model farm will also put forth questionnaires for the farmers when they have a query. He plans to expand his model farm to 30 acres.
Initially, the venture will be limited to Odisha but later it will spread its wings to other parts of the country too.
Avilash Mahananda and his team are an inspiration for the current generation to direct their efforts towards a noble cause for the betterment of the world. His efforts and struggles to provide a better environment and health for the people, even after having an option to live a conventional life is commendable.