Engineer Madhu Kargund used his knowledge of farming to help other farmers in his village increase their livelihoods. His startup Tengin turns coconuts into a host of innovative products. Watch more:
In 2018 30-year-old Madhu Kargund announced that he was quitting his job. The Karnataka native had been working in this field for eight years, so this decision took his family by surprise.
“I am a farmer’s son,” says Madhu. “I have seen how farmers suffer due to crop failure, lower profits and climate change. I am trying to help them make more profits by converting their coconuts to cash flow.”
He does this through his startup Tengin, based in Bengaluru. The engineer-turned-farmer makes Rs 4 lakh per month by selling virgin coconut oil, barfi, soaps, candles, sugar, chips, crockery shells, coir dish scrubbers, and more. What’s interesting about his products is that they end up using every single part of the coconut, ensuring that virtually nothing goes to waste.
While Madhu was convinced that this was his calling, his father wasn’t of the same opinion. “No farmer would want his sons to join farming because of the losses,” he explains.
He shares that even when he was working in the corporate world, his mind was occupied with thoughts of how he could increase farmers’ revenue by eliminating middlemen from the supply chain.
Tengin also engages women self-help groups (SHGs) in his village to produce zero waste from the coconuts. He works with more than 20 farmers in Karnataka and Goa, along with nearly eight women from SGHs in his village to make the products.
He adds, “With my startup, I can only hope to make the profession (farming) more profitable and appealing to the youth to carry on.”
Here’s a look at how Madhu turned his passion into a venture: