Senthil Nachimuthu, who had returned from America, has been impressed with his venture in organic farming in a piece of land that was bought with an intention to building his own house and office, in the outskirts of Coimbatore Metro City.
Having heard about his success in organic agriculture we made a visit to his farm in one of the Sundays. Amidst many rows of flats and the blares of metro city in its outskirts, lies his farm, ‘Poorna Organic Agriculture Farm’. We went inside the farm to meet with him.
We made ourselves introduced to Senthil Nachimuthu and he happily welcomed us with greetings and also introduced his wife, Shanmuga Priya, and his sons, Kavin and Kathir. Then he shared his story with us.
‘Tharapuram in Tiruppur district is my native. I went to America after completing my engineering graduation and started my own company in there. Though I was earning aplenty I always yearned for my village. Having planned to settle only in my village, long ago, I bought a piece of land, about 2 acres, in the suburbs of the city, to have both my own house and the company. In spite of my good earnings, I had been nurturing a dream to venture in agriculture in my native, as I hail from an agriculture family. Whenever I found time, I would be in search of resources to read about agriculture. That is when I got into reading related magazines like Pasumai Vikatan.
Through that I learnt more about natural farming, and cultivation of nontoxic food products. Only then I decided to consume only nontoxic foods that I started searching for the shops that sell ‘organic’ products. But those shops were far from where we lived. In spite of the distance, we travelled to those shops to get such organic food products.
At one point, that is in 2009, I had to return to India from America. After my return, I came to know that I would not be able to build my house due to some reasons. So I had to build it in another place. So, this piece of land of 2 acres was remaining without any use. We found it very difficult to source organic foods here. Besides, we could get products like rice, grams, sugar and oils only. We were not able to get fruits and vegetables that we used to have regularly.
At this juncture, one of our relatives, OVR Somasundaram visited our house. He is an organic farmer, living in Odayakulam in Pollachi. During our conversation, I casually mentioned about the non-availability of organic vegetables and greens in the area. At once, he suggested me to ‘have my own farming in the two acres of land that has been left fallow, to have organic supplies for our consumption’.
Immediately, I took him and showed my land. He said, ‘It’s a very fertile land. Without any further deliberations, get into organic farming’.
He was kind enough to teach me all related things about organic farming, from land designing till input preparations. In addition, he took me to the Agriculture University in Coimbatore and got me introduced to Dr Somasundaram, Head of Organic Farming. Then I participated in the training classes conducted by them on organic farming practices.
Then, we made bore-well in the farm. We could get water at 90 feet. We fixed motor in order to garner solar electricity. This was followed by establishing sprinkler and drip irrigation systems”. With the introduction he then took us around the farm.
“In a five cent piece of land, we have established a netted shed. We grow green varieties like Araikkeerai, Puthina, Kothumalli, on rotation, under the shed. Also, we grow Green brinjal, Blue striped brinjal, Moolanur vellari (cucumber), Ujalakathiri, Kariveppilai (Curry leaves), Lady’s finter (Bhendi), Avarai (Flat bean), Poosani (Melon), Arasaani, Murungai (Moringa), Papaya, Onion, Round chili, Samba milagai, Capsicum, Thakkaali, Cauliflower, in our farm. We follow crop rotation methods so as to make all kinds of vegetables available in all seasons. Whatever crop we plant, at first, we grow crops of green manure and then they are ploughed down in the same field to make the soil fertile and then plant seeds of choice. In addition, we mix bio fertilizers with farm yard manure and mix it with the soil. On a bed with a dimension of 80 feet length, 3 feet breadth and one feet height, we grow vegetable saplings. Either we go for direct sowing of seeds, or grow saplings, we carry out seed treatment, using Panchakavya formulation, without exception. Always we keep the farm irrigated according to the need. There are about twenty different varieties of crops in an acre of land.
We get vegetables throughout the year as we follow crop rotation method. We have grown some Moringa plants for the purpose of getting green leaves. We prune the plants and keep them short so as to get continuous supply of leaves.
I could visit the farm only in the mornings and during holidays as I am busy with my business. So, in order to keep the farm activities going, we have made charts, denoting the time of providing inputs, time of using insect repellents, etc. Similarly, we have also tabulated the time of using ginger-garlic formulation, and spraying of herbal insect repellents. The farm workers follow those charts and tables and complete the work on time. There are CCTV cameras covering the whole farm. I keep monitoring the farm activities, whether I am in America or at my office”. Then he shared with us the details of production.
“We harvest about 20 kg of tomato, 10 kg of brinjal, 7 kg of bhendi, 3 kg of cow pea, 5 kg of flat bean, 10 kg of moringa pods, Arasanikaai 3, papaya fruits 10, 50 bundles of greens, 15 sweet corns, every day. After keeping enough for our consumption and for our relatives, the remaining products will be sold at the farm itself. We are able to earn Rs 60,000 per month from these vegetables. Rs 30000 will be paid to the farm workers and Rs 5000 will be spent on inputs and crop maintenance. So far, I have invested about Rs 9 lakhs in the farm, excluding the cost of land. I will be able to earn my investment back within two or three years”. Thus he concluded.
“I don’t venture in agriculture with an intention to earn more. The worth of this land itself is in millions, now. So, money is not everything. Besides, I have my own business for my earning. What we intend is to ensure our kids consume nontoxic food products. That is the reason we are into organic farming. My friends bring their kids during holidays. I make them aware of the benefits and joy of organic farming. I have a future plan of growing all kinds of vegetables and fruits required at our homes, except salt”. The modern farmer bid farewell with utmost hope and cheer.
To contact, Senthil Nachimuthu Cell phone: 99525 55629
(This article written in Tamil by Palanisamy for Pasumai Vikatan issue dt 10/11/2018 has been translated in English by V Amalan Stanley)