Step back to 1992, a time when our founder, Raj Seelam was working in an agricultural products company. While observing the profuse use of pesticides and fertilizers, he felt that this was not the reality he would like to be part of. On one hand was the alarming use and spread of chemical usage on farms, while on the other was rural indebtedness because of the high investments farmers were making in fertilizers and pesticides, leading to farmer suicides. This triggered in him a new thought process.
Can I make a difference? Can I grow food which is free of chemicals and pesticides?
And so Raj Seelam, hailing from an agricultural and farming family set about asking the relevant questions related to soil, cultivation, farming practices, storage and processing. Alongside him were a group of inspired colleagues who lent the Sresta Foods journey passion and commitment.
Together, they were inspired to name the products 24 Mantra. Delving into the ancient Upanishads of India and sourcing from the Rig Veda they drew upon the primary elements of nature. Tvam Bhumir Apo Analo Anilo Nabha- You alone are Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Ether is the blend of all basic elements that compose wholesome food. And what better way to wholesome food than organic food. Small yet sure steps led to the discovery of stark realities. The fledgling team were confronted with the economics of scale, several naysayers and a nascent market. The going thus had its share of challenges. Right from day one, the focus was to create a wide range of products, because the belief was, if consumers wanted to switch over to organic, the offering had to be total. Product range and product mix issues were followed by the attention on making the products consistently available and the well argued convincing of potential customers, that organic foods are higher priced because of various investments in organic methods. Workshops, early evangelism and contract farming gave way to a much more organized approach to farming with all the methods and processes in place. Availability and distribution issues were addressed and concurrently, all the touch points which continuously build trust and credibility were addressed. For some time now, we at Sresta have mastered the art of paying attention to detail – from the seed to kitchen.
Today, we have our 24 Mantra organic food brand available across India and abroad in 1500+ outlets and our own stores. Under our sustainable farming initiative, we have 45,000 farmers working in 30 plus projects over an area of 2,25,000 acres. For every 100 farmers we have a Sresta Associate, partnering in the farmers progress and knowledge enhancement. Sresta and the farmer, our story continues to evolve into the mutual strengthening of culture, traditional methods and more.
A decade later, our Founder Raj Seelam and Sresta Foods with 24 Mantra in their tow continue to grow, spreading the passion and joy of living an organic life. In India, and with measured steps into the world outside of it.