Suhasini to inaugurate first Aroma Fresh outlet on July 24 Store to offer pesticide-free fruits and vegetables grown using precision farming techniques
Aroma Horticulture Products Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Aroma Group of Companies that has operations in India and the Middle East, is launching an innovative food products chain in Kerala under the brand name ‘Aroma Fresh’. The first outlet of Aroma Fresh will be inaugurated in Sasthamangalam, Thiruvananthapuram by well-known actress and director Suhasini at 10.30 am on Wednesday, July 24. The Aroma Fresh brand and product launch will take place at 12.30 pm at a ceremony attended by Minister for Agriculture Shri K P Mohanan, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Shri Anoop Jacob and Mayor Adv. K Chandrika. Aroma Fresh outlets will sell fresh fruits and vegetables grown using pesticide-free, eco-friendly precision farming techniques at the company’s own polyhouses and sourced from organic certified farms and growers across Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The company has tied up with the Kerala Agricultural University to carry out pesticide residue content analysis on the products to ensure they are free of harmful chemicals.
Besides, fresh farm produce the outlets will also stock pesticide-free pulses, millets, cereals and spices, tea, coffee, vegetable oils, produce from the wild such as honey and bamboo shoots, natural cosmetics, neutral soaps, aromatic and essential oils and other lifestyle items.
Aroma Fresh plans to open two more outlets in the city – one at Nanthancode and another at Kazhakkoottam – in the next two months. It plans to further add one outlet to the chain every three months.
“Our goal is to provide safe and healthy food products to consumers at affordable prices,” said Shri Sajeev P K, Chairman & CEO of Aroma Fresh at a press briefing here. “We have linkages for production and value addition with different groups – ranging from the tribal community, farmers groups, women’s self help groups and corporate plantation groups. We consider this project a social responsibility component of the operations of Aroma Group of Companies.”
Aroma Horticulture is a pioneer in large-scale precision farming in Kerala. Precision farming is a break-through system that uses technology to provide crops the exact amount of inputs such as nutrients or water at the right phase of their growth for optimum yields.
Polyhouses provide a protected environment where inputs and crop management activities can be precisely controlled, resulting in high productivity. Precision techniques can be practiced in open farms
too. Its advantages include efficient utilization of resources, reduced pollution of soil and water since all fertilizers are applied directly at the root zones of crops and zero use of chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. The yields are also much higher than in conventional farms because of this precision.
“Increasing population and development activities increase the pressures on agricultural land and resources such as water and labour are getting scarce, while input costs are rising. The solution is to maximize farming efficiency, optimize resource use and increase productivity per unit area,” Shri Sajeev said.
Aroma Fresh has 18 polyhouses of its own – 10 in Kollam and eight in Thiruvananthapuram. It also has linkages with farmers who do polyhouse farming, providing them technology support and protocols for production. It offers a buy back mechanism with a premium for the zero pesticides production to farmer groups in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Aroma Fresh has devised an Internal Quality management system that is implemented in the farms by development organizations and NGOs. Aroma Fresh production units are GlobalGAP certified, a prominent globally accepted certification mark for Good Agriculture Practice and sustainable agriculture.
Even more stringent are the company’s own voluntary standards that include avoiding the use of pesticides and other such harmful chemicals, rainwater harvesting to replenish ground water and using sustainable production techniques and handling.
“There is ample technology available globally in the farming and agriculture sector, but these seldom reach farm level or production level in India,” Shri Sajeev said. “Our objective is to incorporate cutting edge technologies developed through agricultural research into production and in value chain systems like handling, processing, transport and the marketing of safe and healthy food.”
Aroma Fresh also has a dedicated R&D team conducting research and trials on various crops and has been testing modern techniques in soil fertility management, control of pest and diseases with bio-control agents, controlled pollination, irrigation techniques and traditional crop management practices and techniques.
Aroma Fresh Director Smt Anne Sajeev, Senior Technical Manager Shri Ajith Kumar G.S. and Marketing Manager Shri Santhosh and Project In-charge Shri Vinayan K P were present at the press briefing.