Pioneer in cultivating entrepreneurial culture in Himachal


By: Ravinder Vasudeva

Shimla: A certain brain drain has been happening in Himachal for years with the youth generally feeling that there are not many opportunities to pursue a career here, but there are people like Vinod Soni who, from time to time, have set examples defying this defeatist attitude. A normal post-graduate from Ghumarwi tehsil in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh, Soni has proved how a person’s approach can make difference.
Soni, who hails from the Padyalag village of Bilaspur district, is the only entrepreneur from Himachal Pradesh dealing in production of apple and kiwi root stock through ‘tissue culture’. He established his biotech production lab, named ‘Rajat Biotech Farm’ in Dadhol village near Ghumarwi, just three years back in 2006 and, in this very short period has emerged as the leading supplier of apple and kiwi root stock in the northern India.
“My family is into jewellery business, but I never wanted to follow the same path. After completing my studies, I read about the scope in farming sector and after consulting specialist from Palampur Agriculture University and Horticulture University in Nauni, I started this new kind of business in the state,” says Vinod Soni, who is a simply MA,
B.Ed. from Himachal Pradesh University. He wonders why youth in Himachal is running after government jobs when there is enormous scope of growth in farming sector within the state.Soni invested Rs 22 lakh as initial investment to the business under the Horticulture Technical Mission, for which the Horticulture Department of the Himachal Pradesh Government provided him a subsidy of Rs 10 lakh. “The rest of the money I managed by loans from various banks,” Soni discloses. According to Soni, he started the plant with an initial production capacity of 25,000 root stocks of American MM series of apple per year but with his knowledge, hard work and dedication, he managed to increase the capacity to one lakh root stocks of apple per year. Keeping in mind the rising demand for this “virus-free” root stocks in Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, Soni now targets to produce three lakh of root stocks till the end of 2010.
Presently, this biotech plant is spread in over 5 acre of land and is having about 30 workers.“With changing course of time, apple-growing community now prefers these root stocks over the normal ones as they are much resistible to various kinds of diseases. So I feel there is still great scope for more such enterprises,” feels Vinod Soni.

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  1. Vinod Soni, you have done a commedable job.

    We need more people like you around, who can be an inspiration to other budding enterpreneurs.

    You have let it be known that a government job is not the only employment here, and there are opportunities in farming, should one strive to cash on them.

  2. All across Europe and America apple orchardists are using rootstocks for some decades now. Unfortunately in H.P. orchardists are still using plane Jane traditional varietes. On top of that most of the orchardists are still wary of these scientifically modified varities. Must say though govt. is exporting rootstocks from abroad, but scale at which it is distributing is still peanuts. Also govt's sole role is not only distribution, but it has to create widespread awareness of embracing these varieties which is the only way to eradicate fears in the minds of our orchardists. Unfortunately govt's initiative in this regard appears to be nill and technically illetrate orchardist still continues to invest his hopes in old varieties.

    Change and innovation is something we have always resisted. Blame it on either lack or awareness or stubborn minds.

    Good to see people coming with innovating ideas and inspiring others to enterpreneurships. Its a fresh new start in our state and there is no death of oppotunities here. We have a lot to explore and to reap benefits.

    Congrats !!

  3. sir, I have completed B.Tech in biotechnology in 2009 and want to purseu for the job in your plant.Please let me know if there is any related vacancy.

  4. Sir, H.P. iS fortunate to have peoples like you…. Being a himachali i will like to congratulate you for your excellent job…

  5. Hello
    I am pooja sharma from Hamirpur and i am Persuing Msc. in Biotechnology from Shoolini institute of life sciences and business management .I have a great interest in plant tissue culture and i am really impressed with your innovative step.May i learn from Rajat Biotech as a trainee.Please guide me to make my future in this field.

  6. I am chandrashekhar hegde from Bangalore and i done Masters.visual communication in College of Fine Art,Karnataka Chitrakalaparishath
    .I have a great interest in plant tissue culture and i am really impressed with your innovative step.even i would like to follow your step. is this possible guide me ……

  7. i am rajeev thakur from shimla and an apple orchardist,but far away from this knowledge'tissue culture'. you are doing good job in this field

  8. i am an apple orchardist from shimla,but far away from this knowledge ’tissue culture. you are doing good job in this field . coming soon to ur place

  9. Hi sir, I have completed Doctorate in Plant Tissue culture, is there any opportunity in Himachal to pursue my career in the same field 

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