Duo quits high-paying jobs, scripts safe-to-eat veggie farming success
Rajesh K.G. and his neighbour Renjith Das from Kadakkarappally in Alappuzha quit their cushy jobs as production manager in an IT company at Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, and marketing manager in an international building material manufacturing company around the same time in 2017 to return to their farming roots.
They switched their financially rewarding jobs to pursue vegetable farming after nine people in their locality died of cancer within a short period. In less than a year, the duo expanded veggie cultivation from 50 cents to four acres and started selling 18 pesticide-free vegetable varieties under the ‘Eat It Safe’ brand name after testing the samples at the Pesticide Residue Research and Analytical Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram.
Half a decade later, they continue their silent revolution to increase the production of ‘safe-to-eat’ foods while ensuring good returns to farmers through new experiments and collaborations. ‘Back in July 2017, vegetable farming was launched in 100 houses in our neighbourhood following the cancer deaths. While many people quit midway or failed to pursue further, we delved deeper into agriculture by visiting the farms of successful vegetable growers and expanded the area under cultivation while giving thrust to sustainability and producing vegetables without the use of chemicals, especially pesticides,’ says Mr. Das, 36.
After the initial success, the duo joined others in forming a 354-member farmer-producer company (Green EIS FPC Ltd) in 2021. They, along with nine other farmers, all members of the FPC, later formed Growmore Agritech, a farmer interest group (FIG). Each member of the FIG is cultivating two vegetable varieties in bulk as per their interests while producing other veggies in relatively small quantities.
While farming is done individually, the veggies are marketed under the FIG. ‘The FPC and FIG have helped bring together farmers who follow good agricultural practices. The 11-member Growmore Agritech FIG produces between 400 and 500 kg of safe-to-eat vegetables daily from 20 acres. We aim to increase the daily production to 1,500-2,000 kg. While we grow crops without chemical pesticides, natural alternatives are used in situations where it is absolutely imperative,’ says Mr. Rajesh, 49.
The veggies produced by the FIG are regularly tested to ensure there are no residues on the farm produce. The group mostly uses a fertilizer manufactured locally by combining food and vegetable waste, cow dung, and chicken droppings with microorganisms.
Meanwhile, the FPC is planning to open outlets which will help the entire 354 farmers market their farm produce under a single brand.
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a www.thehindu.com feed.)
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