Can I as a working professional start a farm and run it? With virtually no experience on agriculture, but having desire to grow food, create an economically sustainable model ? Can I use all my knowledge, patience and limited money available (a fraction of monthly salary is all I can afford) and achieve this ? Can I give food security to atleast few families ? Can I play my small part in conservation of eco-system. Can I be a model for others ? Above all, can I do this from a remote place ?
I think all of these are possible. Otherwise my education and experience is of no use. The corporate trainings that I have gone through over a period of years will be a trash and the books that I had read would be only time wasted. And I will be just another guy in an apartment commuting daily to make consumer companies richer.
That cannot be so and this shall be done.
The time period of any farm project is very large. In order to stay committed to the vision, it is important to have a charter. The following will summarise my vision, mission and goal.
The farm has been procured with a surface area exceeding 15 acres. It is assumed that few acres will go as adjustment wastage and the remaining should be available for use after development. The assumption was that one acre will provide a profit of Rs. 1 lakh per year at a conservative estimate, assuming the farming and marketing is done carefully. Therefore to meet family expenses and still provide employment to few, I would require Rs. 1 lakh per month. Therefore a minimum productive area of 12 acres is a must. Added to this will be some wastage, road, farm corners, electric poles, resting places, dispute areas etc..
Because a number of small holdings were purchased and assembled, the holding is not a continuous large tract, but discrete pieces that can be aggregated into three major groups. Let us call A, B and C. The A-Farm is currently getting developed. The A-Farm is not large in size, but hardly 3 acres, but is adjacent to the road and hence forms as Head Quarters for many activities related to nursery, demos etc.
The land has been so chosen so as not to clash with real estate interest of people who may invest in and around an SEZ which is coming up south of Nanguneri. The farm is in a remote place with villages at 1 Kms on either side. The land is ‘puramboke’ (see picture taken at the time of purchase) and not cultivable land, full of thorny bushes,
however the author is confident of converting this into a flourishing soil with help of all including micro organisms. The author also recognizes importance of being commercially successful in order to sustain and support a non-profit Goshala.
My desires/dream and mission includes but not limited to ;
Build a model Organic farm (strictly) with multi-species. As many species as possible, restricted only by commercial viability to accommodate. These vision statements are given in a random order and not in the order of significance.
For profit RadhaMuraliFarms:
- There shall be commercial trees of all varieties on first level, fruit trees, vegetable plants and greens.
- There can be a water cultivation pond and fish pond for manure preparation.
- There will be in-house vermicompost, green compost and waste recycling units (coconut charcoal). This will be applied to farm itself and the excess sold out.
- There will be monthly salaried workers who will be given cotton uniforms atleast two pairs to begin with.
- There will be ladies and gents toilets, and a shaded resting place to have lunch, take nap.
- Agriculture will be promoted as a dignified job among sons and daughters of farmers and Agri-college students.
- There will not be any animals, birds or fish grown for its meat.
- There may be one or two cottages for guest to stay (who can be agri-tourists or eco-tourists)
- There will be permanent traditional houses for Security guard and families who wish to stay back.
- Bachelor workers will be accomodated in nearby villages. Boys and girls separate.
- There will be adequate agriculture tools for performing job. That includes gumboots, various spades, trolly, pruning tools.
- There will be two small tractor Bullocks and custom made carts to prepare small areas.
- There may be one 45HP tractor for large land preparation and transportation of veg, milk, cowdung and other cities.
- Safety and security of employees will be utmost. They will not be allowed to travel across unmanned railway level crossing.
- There will be log books maintained for attendance, tractor movements, land preparation, application of manures, sowing, weeding, harvesting, storage and marketing. Initially they can be manual, but to be replaced with excel sheets on computer.
- Extensive Documentation will be required to be transparent with customers on what they eat and from where at a later date.
- There may be storage godown built to store the produce of the farm and neighborhood.
- There will be a seed bank built in traditional way to store traditional seeds. The seeds will be procured from small farmers. No GMO is allowed. Hybrids are restricted. pure breed variety will be welcome.
- There will be in-house nursery to grow seeds and grow baby plants.
- There will be a compound both wire and green on every farm. This will give safety net for workers with infants.
- The farm will support small agriculture farmers in the neighborhood by give and take of raw and produce.
- The farm will experiment with small farmers providing space and facility to grow for a mutual benefit. only organic.
- Anyone having initiative to grow if it benefits both the parties will be welcome. This could be medicinal plants for example.
- There will not be any share holding on the land. Everyone will be salaried workers only. There is no partnership as it will lead to dilution of mission over a period.
- There will however be an avenue to invite investment on larger initiatives/projects with terms and condition that are viable to provide benefits.
- Agriculture as hobby and eco-tourism will be promoted as additional source of income.
Non-Profit Srivaramanga Goshala
- There shall be a Goshala to shelter cows with a focus to save from going to slaughter house. Primarily native Indian cows purchased from poor farmers who could not maintain.
- There shall be a cow shed which will grow in size to accommodate from 5 to 200 Cows with all basic amenities.
- Cows shall be provided all nutrients as required (Green, dry and minerals)
- There will be an area earmarked to grow cow fodder, grazing and strolling.
- Agriculture students will be freely allowed to experiment. That will build relationship with solution providers. (Organic only)
- Safety and security of employees will be utmost. They will not be allowed to travel across level crossing.
- Donation to Goshala may be invited. That may be in the form of
- Annual holiday service on the site (Shramadhan)
- Organic Medicines
- Donation in cash or kind for Goshala feed
- Sponsor purchase of cows.
- Interception of slaughter house cows, pickup and drop at Goshala
- Sponsor in purchase and transport of stray cows.
- Since cowshed will be 24×7 activity, there may be shelters for staff including ashram type of accommodation of destitute women at a later date.
- The Goshala may attempt to produce cowdung related products for its maintenance.
- The Goshala may takeup the work of developing ponds in the farm to encourage migratory birds to take rest. This will also serve for cows/buffalos besides forming rainwater catchment areas.