Monday, November 25, 2013

Blog Access Issues : Domain Transfer

We are changing homes..and the move is always a little painful!

Some of our readers may have noticed that over the past two days our blog and email has been experiencing access issues. That is because we decided to transfer our domains. Access to the blog using saverafarms.com is restricted at the moment while we switch our domain registrars and hosting service.

While access via saverafarms.com and info@saverafarms.com will be restored no later than Dec 10, 2013, access to the blog is available via the alternate URL : http://techie2aggie.blogspot.com. For immediate email needs, please use saverafarms@gmail.com.

Apologies for the inconvenience and keep blogging!

Updates : 
12/8 : Our email is back up, feel free to reach out to us on info@saverafarms.com
12/9 : Access to www.saverafarms.com has been restored as well. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

In the news : Supply Shortage for Meat Animals

Savera Farms started their goat operations earlier this year but we have been studying the domestic meat market for close to 2 years now. Despite several non-vegetarians each of us may personally know of, meat consumption in India is among the lowest in the world. Several studies have shown meat consumption in India being traditionally low but despite our historical & cultural preferences, there is a distinct change in tide with rise in per capita consumption. Rise in demand can be largely attributed to changing lifestyles, better product availability and affordability.


Despite the low(er) nationwide demand, meat consumption is no longer only for the upper echelons of society. The prices remain high in parts of the country depending on the type of meat. It may be easy to assume that prices are purely driven by demand & supply but as seen even in developed countries, meat production is among the most expensive across all types of food production. There are a few retail players in the Indian market who have successfully tapped the latent demand and created self sustaining brands. We feel there is a lot of room for growth with significant market size for raw, processed and value added meat products.


The crux of many issues in the Indian food chain remains around lacking infrastructure - for production, processing and distribution needs. However, niche players who have been able to develop specific competencies have been successful in mitigating known issues. Over the last few years, monsoons in Tamil Nadu have been intermittent. Bountiful in select areas, the monsoon were meager in most of the state causing drought like situation in many districts. In instances of smaller herd operations, their source of feed is either pasture grazing or rain fed fodder production. With compromised food supply, meat animal (cattle, goat, pig) availability in parts of the state has suffered. Since the last census, in 2007, net availability of meat animals has decreased by close to 36%. In case of meat goats, the herd count impact was more severe with reduction of 225,000, a net reduction of almost 44% !

Interested herd owners may contact the Animal Husbandry Department which is trying to implement several State government schemes such as Accelerated Fodder Development Programme, Drought Mitigation Scheme, Scheme for Poultry Development, and supplying hybrid animal varieties to farmers. At Savera Farms, we will start animal acquisitions from other producers in early 2014. While we continue to rapidly grow our herd, we also recognize that our supply will have intermittent gaps. As our repeat customer base grows and sales channels develop, we see the importance of partnering with other herd owners to service the market demand. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to work with Savera Farms as a supply partner for meat goats.

Credits : The Hindu , Collapse of Industrial Civilization

Monday, November 11, 2013

Calling Mango Producers : Remove middlemen, sell to Savera Farms!



The summer of 2014 will herald the first season of Mangoes at Savera Farms. Given this is our first season and our plantation is still largely juvenile, we are not expecting a heavy yield but we are still excited. With close to 9,000 trees between our ultra-high density (UHD) and regular plantations, even the initial lower yields should result in several tonnes of fruit. Apart from readiness tasks around harvesting, a successful operation will require several time bound priorities post fruit picking and during distribution. A few such activities are listed below. For those looking to read up, here are a few public domain publications from Mexican and Filipino Mango producers.
  • Initial Fruit Inspections
  • Setup of Packaging house
  • Fruit washing, sizing and labeling
  • Hot-water / post water treatment
  • Ripening
  • Packing line
  • Package design and sourcing
  • Storage rooms
  • Audit & record keeping
Each of these activities can become an operation in itself depending on processed volumes. Developing competency in these processes becomes critical if the goal is to attain high volumes and high margins. At the end of the day, each producer has to consider investing in these tasks based on their go-to-market channels and expected revenue.
At Savera Farms, premium Mango varieties include Imampasand, Alphonso and Bnaganpalli which are a mix of shy and heavy bearers. We have been fervently working to develop our go-to-market channels and direct (volume) customers. We also look at this as an opportunity to develop relationships with other Mango orchards and producers. If any producers have a mature Mango orchards and are looking for an alternative channel to sell their fruits, please contact us! Our preferred fruit procurement area is around Madurai, Chennai and Trichy but we would be happy to work with producers from other areas as well. Remove multiple layers of brokers, agents and middlemen who want to profit at the expense of the farmer-producer.


At Savera Farms, we look for long term purchase contracts and strongly prefer to work with direct producers and orchard owners. There are several opportunities and we are looking to team up with enthusiastic, motivated agri-preneurs who can become reliable suppliers. Contact us!


Disclaimer : Pictures are for reference and from public domain

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pruning Mango : Season 2

Our Imampasand and Alphonso mangoes turned 2 years this October. Most of them have already been pruned twice. With the onset of this years monsoons, the vegetative growth was accelerated and it was time to control the foliage and shape the canopy. The right canopy makes a difference in the trees ability to flower and later during fruiting during later years.

There are conflicting theories on whether to prune above or below the whorl, which is the inter-modal ring found in the branches. In traditional cultivation, the cut is made above the whorl to attain maximum shoots. In UHD, since the tree structure is smaller, it is important to control the shoots to avoid overcrowding. By cutting below the whorl, you would typically get 2-3 shoots which is ideal for UHD form of cultivation.



It is important that you allow enough sunlight to penetrate the foliage which involves pruning secondary branches present in the center of the plant. These branches will not bear fruit and you want to decrease non productive foliage as much as possible so that the necessary nutrition goes to the productive branches. Tertiary branches are typically found on the side of the canopy and are fruit bearing. It is imperative tertiary and above branches are not too long to avoid sagging of fruits and branches due to weight.



Before Pruning, with multiple secondary foliage.

After pruning, with healthy tertiary branches which will grow into multiple fruit bearing branches

Alphonso and Imampasand are both premium Mango varieties with wonderful texture and fragrance. With all the desirable qualities, these varieties do have a constraint since they are shy bearers. Not only is the annual fruit yield significantly less than Baiganphalli or Dusheri varieties but significant fruit yielding in these premium varieties often occurs in alternate year. Producers planning new orchards should take the expected yields into account and consider the right mix of heavy and shy fruit bearers.