Changes at Samridhi Agri-Products



as one of Upaya’s core values, we are committed to sharing our successes, challenges, and failures with our partners, donors and industry peers equally. It is in that spirit that we would like to provide an update on a pair of changes that have recently taken place with

Samridhi Agri-Products


Samridhi Logo.jpg
  • In January Samridhi management chose to move the location of its first Bulk Milk Chilling (BMC) facility before the second was brought online. The company needed to better space the collection centers to reach the largest number of dairy farming families. As a result, 46 of the original Samridhi employees - including several women who had been profiled on our website - are no longer within the zone of service and have been transitioned out of their roles. However, the company was careful not to leave them in a precarious situation. Samridhi management took steps to accelerate the livestock ownership transfer to the individual employees and a large majority now own the cows and goats that had been in their care.

This was a very difficult decision for both Samridhi and Upaya, however, we hope to re-incorporate these villages into the Samridhi supply chain as the company continues to expand.

  • Unrelated, Samridhi Co-Founder and CEO Lokesh Singh has transitioned out of his day-to-day management role with the company and has been replaced as CEO by his Co-Founder Niraj Pareek. Biswanath Swain, who has been with the company since its inception, has filled the COO role. The Upaya team has been part of this transition planning and is working closely with both Niraj and Biswanath to ensure that the company’s operations continue to follow its plan for growth.

What does all this mean for Upaya? We have always known that startup enterprises face a unique set of challenges and that, because of their size, the changes they experience can feel quite dramatic. As such, we intentionally designed our LiftUP Project to be patient with investments and work alongside partners so they can have the confidence to make adjustments as issues arise. Both Sriram and Sachi were in Lucknow with the Samridhi team in mid-January and we continue to be optimistic that the company will be able to navigate through this period of change. In fact, during our visit we were happy to find that Samridhi was reaching the same percentage of ultra poor families as before and the company was enthusiastically embraced in the communities where it is operating.

From the beginning of our partnership, we have had full faith in the Samridhi model to create jobs and improve livelihoods. Despite these recent changes, this belief has not wavered. We thank you for your continued support and please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Upaya team directly if you have any questions.

Midline Social Metrics: October 2012

Click to Download the Report

In August 2011, Upaya initiated a partnership with Samridhi Agri-Products to create steady employment for households living on less than $1.25 a day. Surveyed in early July 2012, this Midline Social Metrics report provides a snapshot of the progress out of poverty made by Samridhi’s 55 longest tenured employees.

Before Samridhi’s arrival, these families could only rely on hard manual labor on construction sites or working someone else’s land to earn a meager living. One year later, Samridhi has created 104 new jobs rearing and milking dairy animals for ultra poor families who did not previously own cows or goats of their own. The company has also improved the livelihoods of an additional 220 dairy farming families in the same villages by providing higher, more reliable payments than the local middle men.

For the purpose of this report, the employees have been separated into two groups. Group A includes those who joined the company in 2011, and Group B includes those who joined in the first three months of 2012. For both groups, baseline metrics (those collected prior to employment) and midline metrics (collected as of July 2012) are presented side-by-side for comparison. We are happy to report that both Group A and B have made good progress along certain indicators and we are seeing improvements to their quality of life.

  • Both Groups A and B have seen an 80% reduction in households living below the $1.25 a day extreme poverty line.
  • Group A’s average daily food expenditure quadrupled to nearly $0.81 following a 78% increase in households’ average daily income. Group B saw a similar rate of increase, with a 24% increase in income producing a 49% increase in average daily spending on food.
  • Both groups report consuming a greater variety of grains and vegetables in the home.

You can download the full report here.

India Development Service Supports Upaya's LiftUP Project


Upaya is proud to announce it has received funding from the Chicago-based India Development Service (IDS), a nonprofit, non-political, and secular organization supporting economic and social development in India.

Varsha Pancholi, IDS Board Member, recently met with Upaya's Sachi Shenoy and Sriram Gutta, and visited Samridhi's operations on the outskirts of Lucknow. "I was really impressed with the level of motivation both Upaya and Samridhi have in working with the ultra poor," said Pancholi. "I know they all could choose an easier route in life but choose to do this."

IDS supports small grassroots development projects under various categories like income generation, education, health care, environment and disaster management across India. These projects emphasize self-reliance, accountability of project coordinators, and a strong sense of ownership for the beneficiaries. Careful prior monitoring and ongoing dialogue with the projects have been the mainstay of IDS project support.

“We are pleased the IDS board saw in Upaya the same potential it has seen in many other successful early-stage organizations,” said Upaya Executive Director Sachi Shenoy. “Not only will IDS’s financial commitment allow Upaya to support early-stage businesses through the LiftUP Project, but we will also have the opportunity to draw from the insights and experiences of IDS leadership as our own organization continues to grow,” Shenoy said.

Since 1974, IDS has given over $ 1 million in support to over 150 projects across India and remains a catalyst to new projects every year. For more information about IDS, please go to

Samridhi & Upaya Team Up To Launch Dairy Enterprise, Create New Job Opportunities In Uttar Pradesh

Upaya Social Ventures is proud to announce today a collaboration with Samridhi Agri-Products to establish community dairies that will create jobs and stabilize income for families living in extreme poverty. Launching in one of the poorest states in India, Uttar Pradesh-based Samridhi connects poor milk producers directly to the emerging formal dairy supply chain.