To become financially successful, a farmer needs to transform his cropping pattern to suit the current market trend.
“He should know the requirement of the market and then plan to cultivate the right crops. Only then his economic condition can improve. There is no use in simply growing some crops in a routine manner and then hankering after a middleman for selling it. Proper planning, right crop selection and self marketing must go together to fetch a better income,” says Mr. N. Madhu Balan, Assistant Director, Agriculture, Karimangalam, Dharmapuri, Govt of Tamil Nadu.
A small farmer, Mr. Muthu, grows jasmine and citrus in his 50 cents land and is able to earn more than Rs. 4 lakh as annual income.
All the crops are being grown using goat manure, farmyard manure, groundnut and neem cake. With five goats and five bulls the farmers faces no difficulty in sourcing the inputs.
The 25 citrus trees are pruned during summer and the fruits have a good demand in the market.
“The reason for the demand is that the fruits are round, juicy, big, free from spots, scars and glossy in appearance.
“I am able to harvest about 5,000 fruits from each tree in a year. Each fruit is sold at the local market for Rs.1.50 to Rs.2 and I get a regular income of Rs.1,500 to Rs. 2,000 per day,” says the farmer.
During season the rates for the jasmine flowers also hit a peak and Mr. Muthu is able to get upto Rs. 300 a kg for the flowers.
All the crops are grown organically. Fish hormone is sprayed regularly over the crops.
The farmer says that the glossy appearance on his citrus is due to this hormone, which makes the trees quite sturdy against pest attacks.
About 10 kg fish waste is mixed in 10 litres of sour buttermilk and allowed to ferment for 10 to 15 days in a plastic barrel and stirred periodically. It is then filtered and sprayed through a sprayer.
Neem, pongam, nochi and eureka leaves are gathered, crushed and mixed with 10 litres of cow’s urine and sour buttermilk and allowed to ferment for 10- 20 days and then sprayed over the crops as bio pesticide.
“From my 25 cents for citrus I get a monthly income of about Rs. 50,000. And from my flowers I get an extra income though it is only during flowering season. In a year I earn anything from Rs. 5 to Rs. 6 lakh.
“This is possible only because I take care of the land personally. I don’t depend on workers. Remote control does not work in agriculture. In some places the owner is dependent on his farm hands to do all the work. This is not wise. If you desire to earn money in agriculture then physical presence is a must,” says the farmer.
Off season groundnut
Similarly, he grows off-season groundnut as intercrop in his citrus garden which is harvested during January. The organically grown three-seeded nuts are big in size and taste well.
Farmers come to his field to buy the nuts at Rs.3,000 per bag.
He gets 10 bags of groundnut from 25 cents of land. This year he earned about Rs. 27,000 as net profit for which he spent only Rs.3,000.
The farmer has presently bought a piece of land near his village to take up citrus farming in a bigger way.
“The reasons for Mr. Muthu’s financial success from his small area are: he does not depend on external inputs for his crops.
“Everything is sourced from his place itself. Secondly he markets the citrus and flowers himself and his entire family is involved in the work so he need not spend anything extra on labourers,” says Mr. Balan.
Mr. Balan has been guiding several farmers in his region on how to do agriculture successfully though an interactive site called Vivasayam karkalam (let us learn agriculture) on facebook. The site has registered more than 1,000 followers who keep following it regularly.
For more information and personal visit interested farmers can contact Mr.N..K.P.Muthu Nagathasampatti village, Pennagaram Taluk, Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu, mobile: 09344469645 and Mr. Madhu Balan at 09751506521, email: email@example.com