A passionate enterprise of three former bankers to offer the finest of milk and milk products, straight from the farm to the consumer
Neville Noronha, Nello Teles and Dattaram (Rajiv) Narvekar worked with HDFC bank for the longest period of their lives. Between the three of them they have almost 60 years experience of working in the banking industry; right up from junior staff to senior level positions. At a particular point in their lives, each one of them had a desire to do something other than the routine.
Rajiv and Nello during regular conversations ended up discussing about healthy organic food and then zeroed in on getting into organic farming. They quit their jobs and Neville subsequently joined them. The initial six months went in finding the right place, right products to start with and figuring out a business model. Thus, GoVeda was born and they set up their very own farm in Sal, Bicholim.
Quality has always been at the top of the business decisions for the founding trio of GoVeda
Farming is not an overnight process. Like all things natural, it takes its own time, for now GoVeda Farms has mango saplings, banana plantains, papaya trees, Moringa saplings, bread fruits trees, kokum saplings and the local Goan lost fruits – kaanda, jagma, etc growing. The heart of the venture lies in bringing back the purer variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy produce – in an unadulterated form directly to the consumer.
With rampant soil depletion, that years of conventional farming has left behind, increasing the mineral content is of utmost importance. Cow manure tops the list of naturally enhancing soil quality. Thus the dairy farming of Desi Gir cows took shape. This indigenous breed was chosen for its hugely better milk quality. In keeping with their ideals of a green culture, the GoVeda Farms, Desi milk is being retailed in reusable glass bottles.
A visit to GoVeda farms at Sal, Bicholim, is an exposure to the biodiversity existing there
Quality has always been at the top of the business decisions for the founding trio. Their premium product is the artisanal desi ghee ‘AyurGrth’. It is prepared in the traditional Vedic Bilona method.
‘AyurGrth’ (Desi ghee) is made in mud pots, cooked on firewood for around two hours and this process is minutely monitored by Rajiv. This was a process used traditionally in ancient India and after a lot of trial and error they managed to make the right kind of ghee. Thanks to this process of making ghee, their buttermilk too is the thick variety, unlike the run-off-the-mill watery ones that are available in stores. Every product made at the farm, is tested by their family and friends. “This is just the start of our journey and we have long way to go,” says Neville.
A visit to GoVeda farms is an exposure to the biodiversity existing there. There are country hens moving about, goats grazing the green expanse and Gir cows soaking up the Goan Sun.
These livestock find their own food on the farm. Fodder is grown for the cows on a land of around 6-7 acres. They grow a special kind of grass, and sugarcane, in order to reduce costs and make the whole operation more efficient. Urea or any other kinds of chemical fertilisers are not used on the farm. A direct control in what the cows eat also ensures control on the quality of milk.
Marketing of their products is done on a B2B and a B2C platform with social media playing a pivotal role. The immediate plans for GoVeda entails doubling up their milk production so that they can reach a larger consumer base, while the long term goal is to create a brand associated with wholesome dairy and agricultural products. While the pandemic of 2020 has brought to light the importance of purer, unadulterated food in building immunity, our three Goan farmers have been paving the path to inspire many others to take the road untaken