In the backdrop of excessive and harmful usage of pesticides began the story of Sresta. In 1992, when our founder, Raj Seelam was working in an agricultural products company he observed the alarming use and spread of chemical usage on farms and the deep impact it had on rural indebtedness. Investment in pesticides and synthetic fertilizers meant farmers had to borrow money, which in turn was affecting the very sustainability of the farmer’s life and standard of living. This sowed the seeds for us at Sresta. With a group of inspired colleagues, we set out on a lifelong journey of passion and commitment. We named our products 24 Mantra. Delving into the ancient Upanishads of India and sourcing from the Rig Veda, we drew upon the primary elements of nature - Tvam Bhumir Apo Analo Anilo Nabha - You alone are Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Ether is the blend of all basic elements that compose wholesome food.
Sresta took small steps ahead starting in 2004. With the focus on creating means of sustainability for the farmers, we set about addressing two key areas- farmers and the products. For the farmers our efforts addressed issues of creating communities for farmers who are committed to the cause of organic farming, ensuring continuing means of livelihood and building mutually beneficial relationships with the farmers.
Experienced agriculture and farming graduates ensure there is a detailed study of the environment and the crop patterns. They come with knowledge and the ability to indigenously correlate them with historical experiences and understanding of the traditions. These agricultural graduates are further supported on the field with trained agronomists, entomologists and plant physiologists. Their role being to improve soil fertility, increase the yield and minimise costs by marrying traditional knowledge with earth friendly science. They do this by constant interaction and blending modern farming trends. On field training, workshops and proactive farm and field-testing are part of the teams’ strengths.
At the processing plants, we have teams composed of food engineer, quality control executives and the floor supervisors who combine experience with educational qualifications in food processing, quality assurance and plant management. As a routine, we have a team of qualified nutritionists who are constantly experimenting with new products and trying to understand the drivers that help recreate or revive ancient varieties and articulate their contemporary relevance. Packing and handling done, the outreach team has qualified specialists drawn from the niche areas of agriculture marketing and brand management. All together, the team at Sresta is an eclectic mix of all things that are best to organic.
Our social outreach programmes are mainly focused on health, education and women empowerment. We have however touched upon our three commitment areas outlined in our mission and vision, i.e., sustainability for farmers, a sustainable planet and pure food that sustains good living and well-being. We do all of these with various touch points. Our unique Freedom from Pesticide programme that was launched in 2012 was a courageous call to India to change the way they bought food. Year after year, we have been going back to India around the month of August to remind food lovers that the joy of food is in purity and honesty.
As a continuing programme of providing healthcare, our mobile and need-based health care units ensure that farmers who are part of the Sresta family get regular checkups. Medical health camps and general health awareness programmes go hand in hand with our various sustainability programmes for not just the bread winner but the whole family.
Another social outreach initiative is the Sresta Vidya Ayojan. The education initiative is to ensure that children go to school and stay on in there. Here our enabling is in the space of providing the books and other facilities that help the farmer get access to education without worrying about the expenditure on books and other education activities. The programme was begun in 2013 and is fast gaining pace in many districts of India.
Sresta has invested considerably in product development capabilities. As a result new products are launched almost every quarter with focus on health, nutrition and great taste. We have a strong R&D team focused on food products and also work with many Research Institutions and experienced food consultants to create new and unique products. Over the last two years we have been successful in launching over 200 products ranging from different flours, to differently milled rice, processed products like Chutneys, ready to eat (RTE) & ready to cook (RTC) products, condiments (Jams, Pickles, Masalas), nutrition bars, ayurvedic cookies, health drinks, etc.
Our product development efforts start with a concept and a search for the recipes. This often takes us to the homes of families who have perfected the art of fine cooking over many generations. Then our culinary experts in our trial kitchen experiment and fine tune the recipe. We then work with experts, research institutions and manufacturing partners to develop the production technology. We strictly adhere to the organic protocol. Sresta could be your one stop shop for a huge range of exemplary Organic Indian food products.
Currently we have over 1,50,000 acres of land across the country under various stages of organic production. We take maximum advantage of the varied agro-climatic zones and produce crops which are native to that particular place and also take consideration of the climatic conditions and soil, which translates into quality produce.
All our projects are supervised by our team members located across the country. Our inclusive model involves partnering with local non-governmental organizations in mobilizing farmers and training them in organic agriculture. We partner with leading agriculture research institutions and experts in India and abroad to evolve the best organic agriculture practices to improve agricultural productivity, farm sustainability and quality of the produce.
Knowing the thought leader
Balasubramanian N, CEO
“Sresta has pioneered the organic foods category in India from 2004. Working against all odds, today we stand as a leader in the organic foods category. And perhaps the loudest voice in the movement towards an organic life. We have worked out to perfection on all the relevant yet diverse aspects of bringing organic foods to the kitchen.”