Cultivating not just crops but also one’s own pesticide, Bhandara farmer shows the way

By Times Of India on 21 Mar 2018
Nagpur: While organic farming is a concept that is fast catching up with farmers, Rajesh Gaidhani is engaged in cultivation of medicinal plants that act as excellent preservatives and fertilizers. These fertilizers, he says, can avert a tragedy like the recent farmer deaths in Yavatmal due to use of toxic pesticides. He nurtures a vision to uplift farmers by helping them increase their soil fertility, marketing their goods, as well as shifting to organic farming. For this, he conducts free-of-cost training sessions at different places and welcomes everyone who would want to pay a visit and embrace his ideas.
Out of his 16-acre farm, located in Lakhani Taluka, Bhandara district, 10 acres are under organically cultivated conventional crops and the rest under cultivation of medicinal plant, Vekhand (Acorus Colamus), for whose marketing he has already inked deals with some noted corporate companies. His unit converts dried Vekhand roots to powder. “This plant helps increase his farm’s soil fertility from 0.4 to 0.9 (1 symbolizes 100 per cent fertility) in merely three years,” he says.

He encourages farmers to make use of Vekhand, whose extract can be used as an insect repellent at farms, while its powder acts as a preservative for food grains. He has been associated with farming since 2002 but decided to devote entire time and energy to it in 2013. Gaidhani worked with an automobile company for 26 years before shifting to full-time farming, a decision he says was inspired by his wish to give back something to society.

In order to share his research and experiences with other farmers, Gaidhani has hosted two-day training sessions in Delhi and Jaipur, organized by government's ministry of Ayush. His venture, Organic Herb Lakhani, promotes low-cost farming and deals with preparation of organic manures and bio-pesticides. Gaidhani also deals in Agro processing, farmer's training and spiritual farming.

"We say no to chemicals at our farms," he says, adding that his farm specialities include Desi cow's urine-based fertilizer, natural bio-pesticides, ayurvedic grain preservatives and low polished food items. "There is huge potential for processed agro-products," he says, adding that he is willing to set up his own primary processing unit for chillies, turmeric and coriander." This facility can help our local farmers to dehydrate or process their perishable products, and safeguard them from the fluctuation in market prices," he says

Gaidhani also has started marketing his own product range of super fine rice he labels as ‘Bhandara special’, aromatic rice, brown rice, natural rice and wheat along with farm fresh natural oranges.