Using biotechnology in animal husbandry, this startup aims to help farmers across Bengal to rejuvenate the meat industry. Aegipan Animal Biocare Pvt Ltd’s transformation into a startup from a small farm in Singur became possible through a business model that had been drawn up about seven years ago to not only allow farmers to rake in profits but also create employment for the rural population.
The business banks on artificial insemination (AI) — frozen semen of black Bengal goats are transferred to the reproductive tracts of the females. The concept of the business was mooted on the backdrop of the Singur turmoil in 2008.
Kalyan Koley, then 26, was among the youths who was disappointed with the row over land acquisition for Tata’s proposed car factory in Singur. While many were looking for ways to eke out a livelihood, Koley — a graduate in zoology — had made up his mind to undertake a research on animal husbandry, having gone against the wish of his family.
In 2012, Koley decided to do something on reviving the goat meat industry that had been limping due to unhealthy and underweight black goats, thereby affecting the incomes of several farmers across the state. “I had applied online to participate in a 10-day training on goat rearing at ICAR Central Institute of Research on Goats (CIRG), Makhdoom, Mathura. I returned to my village in Singur and started a goat farm, ‘Sanjevani Khamar’. Every morning, people would bring female goats to our farm to get them impregnated by the male goats that we had,” Koley, now 37, told TOI.
Last year, Koley changed the name of his business to ‘Aegipan Animal Biocare Pvt Ltd’ and availed of the incubation facility at IIM Calcutta Innovation Park. Since 2012, Koley’s business enterprise has impacted around 60,000 farmers across the state. Farmers pay Rs 100-Rs 150 service charge to have their goats artificially inseminated.
The frozen semen is distributed in cryogenic containers to 12 dealers across the state where around two lakh artificial inseminations have been carried out till date. “To extract the semens, we collect the goats from government-run centres that certify the animals free from sexually transmitted diseases,” Koley said.
“The first three years of our business were crucial in terms of funds collection. However, now our annual is Rs 2 crore,” Koley said. Currently, the startup has trained around 3,000 rural youths across Bengal for the job. These youths now earn around Rs 10,000 per month.
The startup has signed a 10-year contract with ICAR (CIRG), Mathura to update technology for the business.
Koley rued that he has not been able to acquire an automated frozen semen laboratory. The Bengal MSME department has decided to spread our innovation through rural entrepreneurship hubs.”
Source: Times of India