New Start-Up Grows Saffron in Shipping Containers

Using hydroponic technology, a start-up in India is revolutionizing how this rare spice is grown.

Apr 24, 2023


New Start-Up Grows Saffron in Shipping Containers | Using hydroponic technology, a start-up in India is revolutionizing how this rare spice is grown.

Saffron, which is cultivated from the saffron crocus, is one of the most precious and sought after spices in the world for its unique flavor and brilliant color. However, thanks to a new start-up, 365D Farms, saffron may become a little less precious and a little more available. 

Using hydroponics
Saffron, also called “red gold”,  according to The Better India, is always in high demand. Part of the reason for this is that it is primarily produced in one small area of Kashmir, and nowhere else.

But recently, Shailesh Modak an entrepreneur from India  has changed that variable by using hydroponic technology to grow saffron in shipping containers, making it possible to grow the spice almost anywhere. 

According to research that was published on Medium, the use of hydroponics allowed the plant to thrive under conditions in which normal cultivation is either difficult or impossible.undefined allows the growth environment and nutrition of the growing plants to be controlled for a better quality and higher yield.

These are the properties that Modak is looking to take advantage of to disrupt the Indian saffron market.

Becoming an entrepreneur
Modak wasn’t always an entrepreneur. Before his venture into agricultural start-ups, the Pune native worked as a software-engineer, according to The Better India. However, despite his stable job he was not satisfied.

“I would come back after work and pick my wife’s brain saying that I don’t like my job. One day she just simply said ‘Itna mann hai toh karo’ (if you really want to do it, then take a chance). She asked me to give her the ropes of finance at home and find my dream. Modak told Better India” So, In 2016, he left his job to devote his time to entrepreneurship. 

“My life became this large playground where I could explore and play different things. I had so much time in hand to find my calling. My parents and siblings were not really happy with my decision but my wife became my biggest cheerleader,” Modak said.

At first, Modak tried his hand at a business that involved renting out bee hives to local farms. Unfortunately, most of his employees were afraid of bees, and the business failed. 

So he decided to try growing saffron instead but he wisely tested the concept by growing greens and strawberries first, reported Times Now. When that was successful, he switched to growing the rare spice. His first crop garnered 875 grams of saffron and he already made a small profit.

If Modak’s startup is successful, it will mean that a product that was once a rare indulgence for most people may become something people can use every day, and that makes the world tastier for everyone.

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Tiki is a freelance writer, editor, and translator with a passion for writing stories. She believes in taking small actions to positively impact the world. She spends her free time reading, baking, creating art, and walking her rescue dog.