Dr. Kavitha Sairam has had a passion for science since a very young age. That’s why she’s on a mission to to apply a scientific solution to global farming problems, particularly the issues surrounding biofertilizers.
Kavitha is an alumnus from JIPMER, with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Medical Biochemistry. She also holds a PhD in Biotechnology from IIT Madras and was named to Forbes India’s 2018 list of "W-Power Trailblazers," honoring women entrepreneurs.
In 2013, Kavitha co-founded FIB-SOL Life Technologies to apply her biotech expertise to a major problem she was seeing in the organic farming industry. Organic farmers face a number of challenges, including low crop yields and pest attacks. Kavitha explains that fundamental issues with traditional biofertilizer carriers cause the microbes, which are necessary for crops to assimilate and grow, to become useless by the time they reach the plants.
FIB-SOL’s key product is an ultra-lightweight nanofiber carrier that protects the essential microbes in biofertilizers. Just 60 grams of the tissue paper-like nanofiber is needed per acre of crops, increasing farmers’ yields and productivity and, ultimately, their incomes.
Kavitha is currently participating in Upaya’s 2018 Agribusiness Accelerator Program, and is among 11 agripreneurs selected based on their potential to create dignified jobs for the poorest of the poor.
We asked Dr. Kavitha Sairam about the inspiration for FIB-SOL and what she has learned and accomplished so far...
Q: How did you become so passionate about this issue?
"Science has been my passion from young days and I was very curious in addressing issues with Science. Hence when I was looking for opportunities post PhD, I identified Agriculture as a sector having issues with the biological inputs, and offering solution in a scientific way was the only opportunity I saw, and there we are at FIB-SOL, addressing global farming problems."
Q: Can you explain how FIB-SOL is addressing global farming problems?
"Organic farming is a global necessity to improve the quality of soil and produce healthy food. The risks include low yield, pest attack and lack of knowledge on the inputs. We aim to mitigate the risks involved in organic farming by providing stable and appropriate biofertilizers, which act as an integral part of organic farming. Biofertilizers are agriculturally important microbes, which perform the essential functions of nitrogen fixation, phosphate solubilization and potassium mobilization, for plants to assimilate and grow in a healthy manner."
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs based on your learnings?
"The biggest learning through FIB-SOL is to be polite, as there is so much knowledge in every person that you may have to learn. Perseverance and hard work are the key to success in your journey, be it start-up or life."
Q: What is your vision for your company?
"FIB-SOL will redefine the way biologicals are transported globally and shrink it to your pockets."
FIB-SOL Life technologies aims at promoting and redefining farming in a more organic and eco-friendly way by using biotechnology and nanotechnology as intervening tools. The first product is an ultra-light weight nanofiber carrier to stabilize agriculturally important microbes in a high pay loads, so as to ensure increased yield and productivity.