Mr. Edison Theodore Williams (39) is an engineer by profession from Annanagar village in Coimbatore district in Tamil Nadu. After studies, he returned to his native village and got himself involved in trading of coir pith as his business activity. He observed, “Coco peat is an ideal medium to grow young seedlings until they are ready for transplanting.
Its cellulose structure allows the roots to establish and absorb the right amount of water. Importantly, the medium is more likely to be free from bacteria and fungi as compared to soil”.
Coco peat is a soilless substrate for plant cultivation and he believes that the coir-based products can change the future of the horticulture sector in India. He also underwent a diploma course in horticulture nursery management, to understand the techniques better.
He gained rich experience in hydroponic cultivation and other low-cost soilless cultivation techniques. In 2014, he joined the Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centres (AC & ABC) Scheme at the Biofarm Nodal Training Institute, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu for a free two-month residential training course.
After completing the training programme, Er. Edison continued with his previous work at his firm, which he had named ‘Williams Enterprises’. Although the venture was started as a consulting and trading rm of coir products, he expanded the operations in due course of time. Meanwhile, Er. Edison, on the strength of his AC & ABC Certi cate, submitted a project proposal with an outlay of Rs. 20 lakh.
The Canara Bank approved his project of Rs. 20 lakh (Margin-Rs. 3.00 lakh; Loan-Rs.17 lakh; Subsidy Component-Rs.7.20 lakh) and has sanctioned the loan to him in principle. He has now set up a fully equipped manufacturing plant for coir products.
Today, Williams Enterprises is a registered manufacturer-cum-exporter with the Coir Board, Government of India, for export of horticultural coir products and as a merchant exporter with Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council of India (CAPEXIL) for export of coconut shell charcoal, expanded perlite and exfoliated vermiculite.
The firm also manufactures a wide range of coco peat products with different product variations in coco peat. The range of products varies from coir husk chips, coco peat, rubberized coir products, coconut shell products, coconut shell charcoal, cut fiber, coir-based organic manure etc.
Mr. Edison says, “AC&ABC is an excellent programme for someone who wants to grow as an Agripreneur, and agriculture, as an industry, offers very high scope for entrepreneurship”.