Anyone for Barmer fries? A lot’s cooking in Rajasthan’s desert district

With the farmers in Barmer all set to produce thousands of kilos of potatoes for french fries and plant-based meat manufactured in Udaipur making its way to the US and Europe, the desert state of Rajasthan shall soon script a new growth story.

Thanks to the innovations in agriculture science and farmers’ hard work, Indians will also get to taste Barmer grown french fries as farmers from Rajasthan’s small TaraTara Math Village of Barmer will produce potatoes across 25 acres of land for McCain Foods India.

McCain Foods, a Canadian company, is famous for being the supplier of French fries to McDonald’s globally.

Dry weather and lack of ground water since centuries has left no choice for Barmer, located in the Thar desert on the border with Pakistan, but to cultivate limited crops such as bajra, chana and cumin.

In recent years, the region has started shaping lush fields of vegetables or orchards of fruits. McCain Foods’ potato production project has provided yet another platform for the village farmers by offering them an opportunity to produce potatoes.

Rituraj Sharma, Agripreneur and Founder of Growpital and Zetta Farms said, “In Barmer district’s TaraTara Math village, we did the soil and water test on farmer Vikram Singh’s land and found it apt for the potato and clocked a contract with multinational company McCain Foods.

“The company sent 32,500 kilos of potatoes for seedling and vegetative propagation. We also trained over 50 female farmers of the village with the help of Vikram Singh on methods of cultivation of three types of potato – Lady Lolo, Kennebec and Santana. The expected production after 90-100 days ranges 10-15 times more than the seeding quantity.”

Besides potatoes, the state had already made a mark globally with its plant based meat which is now available in countries like Canada, Dubai, Nepal, South Africa, Mauritius, and Singapore. The Udaipur-based companies launched plant based meat products in 2016 and within a few years have clocked a 250 per cent growth even during the pandemic while marking a global presence simultaneously.

GoodDot, formed in 2016 by Abhishek Sinha and Deepak Parihar, has been growing at almost 100 per cent YoY since the start. However, in the last financial year, the company’s growth was 250 per cent.

Sinha said, “GoodDot has placed Rajasthan firmly on a global stage in the plant based meat space. This has also encouraged other leading food brands to explore Rajasthan as a manufacturing base, for example. a leading health food Sattviko has also shifted their head office and factory to Udaipur.”

He continued, saying: “We have around 250-plus employees, most of whom are locals from Udaipur and rest of Rajasthan. We have upskilled workers and given them the opportunity to work as machine operators and supervisors. We have employed more than 50 local rural women and trained them to work in an organised manner in our factory.”

“When we formed our company in 2016, the category of plant based meat was extremely small as consumer awareness about such products was non-existent. However now, people across India are looking for plant based meat options. And this demand is from metros as well as from smaller towns and cities in India,” he added.

GoodDot’s has recently executed a big order and the product is going to be placed very soon in the US, Sinha added.

The company’s products are now being used in almost 1,00,000 meals everyday all across India and they range from Curries, Tikkas, Keema, Noodles, Biryani, and Pulao to chunks of plant-based meat.

Another QSR outlet GoodDo is also offering tasty, healthy and affordable plant-based meat alternatives that can be used to replace meat in any recipe.

GoodDo is India’s first and largest chain of Vegan Quick Service Restaurants which is again headquartered in Udaipur and has its branches in Mumbai, Delhi and Nepal.

GoodDo has been awarded the ‘Best Vegan Restaurant’ by the Indian Restaurant Association and its food truck in Udaipur has been recognized as the 2nd Best Vegan Food Truck in the world by Lonely Planet.

“Patrons absolutely love our offerings and come from afar specifically seeking our unique offerings. Several of our outlets have exceeded their pre-pandemic levels and the interest in this sector is really growing. Team GoodDo is focused on taking vegan food to the masses in a delicious, fun, innovative and affordable avatar,” Sinha said.

20221218-081201

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