Meerut-based Sana Khan is the co-founder of SJ Organics, a vermi-composting company. A biotech engineer by qualification, Sana knew that taking up a corporate job wasn’t her cup of tea. She had a very clear vision of working on vermi-composting and converting her fourth-year project into a venture. Inspired by an episode on sustainability and waste management featured on “Satyamev Jayate,” Sana started her vermi-compost project in 2014 with an initial investment of few thousands, she has come a long way. Today SJ Organics is counting revenues in crores, managing 500 tonnes of waste and producing 150 tonnes of vermi-compost per month, employing 30 people in her team.
The journey had its difficulties, but Sana’s determination has paid off. Prime Minister Mann Ki Baat programme appreciated her efforts in managing biodegradable waste. The government has recognised her as the brand ambassador for Swachh Bharat Mission, Entrepreneur Development Programme and Organic Farming. SJ Organics has so far trained over 50 entrepreneurs, earning and providing employment through low-cost infra methods.
Sana’s team has been educating and training the farmers, encouraging them to use the vermi-compost opting for organic farming.
Things weren’t easy initially. People mocked Sana for working with worms, biodegradable waste, cow dung and cow urine. With no prior experience in agriculture or village life, it was all very challenging for her. But thanks to the support of her father, brother Junaid Khan and husband Syed Akram Raza, Sana has revived the vermi-composting practice in India.
Speaking to The Earth View, she said: ” Vermi-composting has always been a part of Indian agriculture, but down the line, our farmers have become so used to chemicals that they have forgotten it for so long. Thankfully, the results have been so encouraging that now, the farmers are taking part in our workshops and adopting vermi-composting again.” Sana’s work in vermi-composting has seen a boost since the launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. She has contractors providing her with the required cow dung, biodegradable waste and cow urine. From processing 500 tonnes of waste, SJ Organics will take up 5000 tonnes of waste. The soaring demand for vermi-compost has kept the area clean. Getting paid for supplying the waste is an ideal situation for many. The work is promoting cleanliness, creating employment opportunities and gives way to sustainability.
Sana says, “Our motto is not to sell vermi-compost. The idea is to let farmers, gardeners, individuals, use vermi-compost as a substitute for chemicals. We want everyone to contribute their bit in creating a clean, sustainable environment. Over 100 schools have set up vermi-composting under the guidance of SJ Organics. Our aim is to take vermi-compost far and wide.” Talking about SJ Organics future plans, Sana shared acquiring new land to scale up production by taking in waste from the adjoining areas of Meerut. Coming up with new products is also in the pipeline. They are now catering to demand from all across India and will be very soon going global. On the last note, Sana says, “Many people, friends, acquaintance, well-wishers have discouraged me. As youth, we all think of doing something great, but determination and planning are very crucial in getting successful. Faced with so much negativity, I vowed to prove them all wrong. It is hard work, paying attention to details, perseverance that has paid off.” It is just the beginning for Sana; she is ready to soar higher and higher, for the sky is her limit.
Written By: Tabassum Jawed