Vermicompost Project,By Sana Khan "Sj Organics"
Vermicompost business, Sana Khan became a millionaire in 5 years
When we hear the word business, the image of a male business man is often the first thing that comes to our mind. But, today we are going to introduce you to such a business woman, whose work has been appreciated by the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi in his show 'Mann Ki Baat'.
Sana Khan's 'SJ Organics' company, based in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, makes vermicompost (earthworm manure) in ancient ways. Sana was in her fourth year of B.Tech when she started work on the project of vermicomposting in her college. From there his interest in it grew. Later, he started his business in vermicomposting itself.
Actually, Sana wanted to become a doctor since childhood. But, her future was set to take him in some other direction. She could not clear the medical entrance examination. Then he joined IMS Engineering College in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. During the fourth year of his B.Tech studies, she had to work on a vermicomposting project. But, they had no prior knowledge about how this was done.
As Sana Khan started seeing the benefits of this method, her interest grew. He realized that farmers use it to a very limited level. She decided that she would implement her project in the field. Sana khan tells that while working on the project, she thought that the project should be implemented on a large scale. “I started raising earthworms and started marketing manure made from it,
What is vermicomposting and vermicomposting process
Vermicomposting is a process of preparing good compost using earthworms. Biomass is food for earthworms and the soil extracted by them is called 'worm cast'. It is rich in nutrients and for this reason it is also called 'black-gold'. Earthworms live up to three years and reproduce rapidly, making the process sustainable and affordable for business. Apart from its increasing importance as a core part of organic farming system, vermicomposting is also recognized as a clean, sustainable and zero waste method. Because, microbes help earthworms in a big way in destroying the waste.
Sana khan says, “We have interfered with the natural system by using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which have a bad effect on our health. Organic produce preserves the natural quality of things and does not allow them to deteriorate. It is not only good for our health, but it also maintains the fertility of the soil.”
Sana Khan started SJ Organics
Initially, when Sana khan decided to start vermicomposting, she faced many challenges. Sana tells her family about her plan. The family members were against Sana's words, as no one in her family was involved in the agriculture sector nor did Sana khan have any formal training. Sana's mother explained a lot to her that she should do a job in a multinational company. But Sana had taken her decision. Eventually, Sana got the support of her father, who is a tailor by profession, and her brother.
In the year 2014, at the age of 23, Sana Khan started SJ Organics with the help of her brother Junaid Khan. Junaid invested money in his business. Initially, when Sana started the business, she tied up with dairy owners directly for vermicomposting. So that the waste in their dairy can be used directly. But this business model failed. Sana then hired contractors who transport dairy and biodegradable household waste from Ghaziabad and Meerut to the Government Inter College (where she is running a vermicomposting site). This waste is immediately fed to the red earthworms. These are special earthworms, which are very efficient and Sana uses them for vermicomposting. The entire process of converting organic matter into vermicompost takes about one and a half months.
After this the compost is filtered and then cow urine is added to it, which acts as a natural pesticide and fertilizer. Each batch of Vermicompost is lab tested and then packaged to meet proven standards. After that they are marketed. Vermicompost is procured by farmers, retail outlets, and nurseries. Farmers sometimes bring soil reports when required and the vermicompost is enriched with additional nutrients as per the soil requirements.
By 2015, Sana started making profits and started working on increasing it. By 2020, the company received 500 tonnes of waste and produced 150 tonnes of vermicompost per month with an annual turnover of Rs 1 crore. Today, Sana Khan handles the production, while her brother Junaid and husband Syed Akram Raza market the business.
Transportation of Vermicompost to other parts of India
Talking about the initial challenges Sana says, “I used to travel to villages to train farmers about organic farming methods. But, then people often did not take me seriously.”
In 2018, Sana's work was mentioned by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in 'Mann Ki Baat' as a woman entrepreneur taking sustainable initiatives to help farmers.
Sana khan says, “In the 41st episode of Mann Ki Baat, PM played a video in which I and SJ Organics explained how to make vermicompost. Now farmers take me seriously and are interested in adopting organic farming methods.”
SJ Organics also provides training and consultancy services for setting up low-cost infrastructure for vermicomposting. Sana has also established a range of employment opportunities. The company has 10 permanent employees and other daily wage laborers are also employed. In all, Sana's company provides employment to about 30 people.
Sana khan says, “We directly help in increasing employment. Because, we hire contractors who hire laborers to help with the transportation and handling of the waste. In addition, our training programs help entrepreneurs to start their own venture. Due to which further employment opportunities will be created for the people across the country.”
Apart from creating employment opportunities, SJ Organics has also helped in popularizing Vermicomposting. 104 schools in Meerut have set up vermicomposting sites in consultation with SJ Organics. Sana hopes that by sharing her knowledge about vermicomposting, she can help popularize organic farming methods not only in Uttar Pradesh, but across India.
Talking about her financial plans for the future, Sana says that she recently bought an acre of land in Abdullahpur, on the outskirts of Meerut, where she plans to expand production and introduce new products like vermi wash.
Lastly, giving a message to women entrepreneurs, Sana says, “There is a myth that women can only do household chores. Women should not hesitate to enter the agriculture industry. There are lot of opportunities in this field. Women can achieve the success they want. If our women actively enter the agriculture sector, it will prove to be a boon for our economy.”