JUAS (Jiva Urban Agriculture Systems): A Revolution in Organic Farming

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JUAS (Jiva Urban Agriculture Systems): A Revolution in Organic Farming

Pollution is a pressing problem in Nepal, more so in Kathmandu. The World Pollution Index of 2016 ranked Kathmandu as the third most polluted city in the world. One root of the problem is the unmanaged household wastage, that’s either thrown to the rivers or burned down (obviously leading to different types of pollution all together). According to research by Asian Development Bank in 2015, out of thousands of tons of wastes generated in Kathmandu, 65% of it is organic, and households contribute 50-70 percent of it.

Pranav Karki found a way to take this issue to his advantage and through his skills and experiences in organic farming and waste management, he succeeded in doing so with JUAS.

JUAS (Jiva Urban Agriculture System) is an innovative and sustainable organic waste recycling and organic food production solution for the urban and suburban areas of Nepal. JUAS operates on the principle of anaerobic digestion system. It recycles organic wastes such as food and food processing wastes into biogas that can be used as an alternative to LPG gas in the kitchen, and bio-slurry fertilizers that can be utilized as high-quality fertilizer for farming. They use innovative farming methods such as biological hydroponics for regenerative agriculture, which are ideal for organic waste management and urban farming in households and institutions as well.

 

Seeding The Idea

Pranay Karki, a logistic engineer by education, has been involved in various agribusinesses since the past four years. He was formerly involved in production and sales of organic food in Farmer’s market. As he matured with his business, he learned a lot about organic farming, hydroponic agriculture and organic waste management.  With the notion and concept of creating a sustainable cycle incorporating organic food production and recycling the organic food waste to solve some pressing problems of Nepal, he came up with JUAS.

“JUAS wasn’t an idea that just hit my mind. It was the evolution of that idea. I was formerly involved in different types of agribusinesses and aqua businesses. That’s where I got to learn a lot about bioponic farming. The concept of farming without soil using only mineral nutrients and utilizing organic wastes for farming and cooking in a city where fertile land is rapidly shrinking and pollution is rapidly increasing fascinated me,” says Pranay.

Initially, Pranay provided organic farming solutions in urban and suburban areas. In mid-2015, when the economic blockade hit households in Nepal, the shortage of LPG gas had people using firewood and other household mechanisms. The idea of bio-digester, an anaerobic digestion system designed to convert kitchen and food wastes into biogas and bio-slurry (plant fertilizer), then buzzed in his mind and now JUAS runs an integrated system of hydroponics and biogas, commonly called Bioponic system.

 

 

Pesticide-ing the Problems (organically)

One of the biggest challenges he had to face was to explain and make people understand how bioponic farming worked. When he started, most people in Nepal were uninformed about the modern mechanism of Bioponic farming since people have been farming and cultivating in the soil for centuries. To cope with it, Pranay started providing the service in credit.

Along the way, just as the execution phase for JUAS was running, the economic blockade halted all the import and export in Nepal, because of which, Pranay had to terminate his business as well. The inactivity of almost six months risked Pranay a huge loss. Nevertheless, at the same time, Pranay stayed positive and he says he took that problem as his opportunity to grow his business from an urban farming solution provider to providing bio-digester and urban farming solutions.

 

 

Germination of JUAS

The growth of JUAS has been remarkable. In less than a year of operation, it has been able to attract effective market and change the lifestyles of many people by providing a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative for farming and biogas production. After several experiments on bioponics farming, Pranay successfully brought the idea of bio-slurry and urban farming solutions to the general people, and now several schools, institutions, and households, including Pranay's own, use JUAS farming. Everyone who has understood and adapted the idea of JUAS farming system has responded positively, and it has been gaining considerable exposure.

"Having been set up in early 2016, within a period of 8-10 months, we believe we have been able to win lots of hearts. Even though not many people understand the concept of JUAS in first few phases, the ones who know and use our farming system are very happy with the product. We choose to believe quality over quantity, or anything for that matter. That is why we're providing the highest quality product to our customers for building a strong base for a better future," says Pranay.



Scaling Future Growth

For Pranay, JUAS is not just another venture, it's a revolutionary one. He has already invested Rs.28 lakhs into the venture. Pranay takes JUAS as a disruptive startup that can change the way people define and understand organic farming, or even farming in general. With bioponic agriculture, all the organic wastes, which covers almost 80% of household wastes are recycled and reused for the sustainable production of biogas and organic fertilizers. This eco-friendly and healthy cycle of waste management and food production, as Pranay believes, can change the lives of people and decrease some pressing problems of Nepal.

"The increase in agricultural pollution has not only harmed the environment but the health of people as well. With JUAS, our primary objective is to create a sustainable cycle that incorporates food waste and production to create healthy lifestyles and healthy environment." -Pranay Karki, founder/ CEO of JUAS

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Guest Tuesday, 25 February 2020