Article Ms. K. Chithra - Qualified chartered accountant leaves a secured job in Chennai to pursue farming

Discussion in 'Discussion Topics' started by editorialteam, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. editorialteam

    editorialteam Active Member Staff Member

    Qualified chartered accountant leaves a secured job in Chennai to pursue farming in Melma village, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu


    Farming is passion for uncountable people in India but is it easy path to pursue commercially? It is a fantastic profession however tough due the man-made created obstacles! Newspapers and TV shows present agri related stories that are far different on the field be it obsolete subsidy program, extensive expectations or price exploitation. Educated people are taking risk and becoming part of agriculture, the most unorganized sector of Indian economy with enthusiasm but are left aghast when they come face-to-face with realities.
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    Ms. K. Chithra

    “I was living a comfortable life in finance domain with a national newspaper in Chennai but left it all for the passion to grow food. I love challenges and this field is full of challenges at every step! Most of the service providers in the agriculture system are full of unprofessionalism as in the farm infrastructure such as green house, corruption in agriculture department where bribe is expected for everything, price exploitation by urban organic stores as they never pay correctly and on time and so on,” highlights the first generation farmer Ms. K. Chithra. She grows paddy, fruits and vegetables practicing chemical free farming methods on her 4 acre farm at Melma village, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu.

    Prior to becoming a full time farmer she visited many thriving natural as well as organic farms to prepare herself for commercial farming. “I became a self-taught farmer through reading books, journal and visiting farms. The entire process was very interesting and exciting for me,” she shares. In 2011 she bought the farm and then her journey began in agriculture.
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    Land Preparation

    The soil was completely unhealthy and had to be treated before the cultivation. “We mixed the top soil with river sand and red soil. Then it was blended with huge quantities of farm yard manure to replenish the soil with nutrients and bring back the micro-organisms,” says Ms. Chithra. Next she planned the land architecture to develop the fruit orchard, green house and vegetable cultivation.
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    Crop Selection

    The farm has guava plantation in one acre grown using high density farming. The variety selected is Lucknow 49 guava. 750 saplings are cultivated keeping the distance of row-row 8 feet and plant-plant 3 feet. The saplings were sourced from Krishnagiri at Rs. 25/plant. In order to keep the plant safe from pest neem oil was sprayed initially and now regularly panchgavya is sprayed. “The plants seem to be growing fine as it started flowering and fruiting in just 7 months from plantation. But we pruned it off because we want the plants to have a strong foundation. Fruiting shall be delayed for another two years for sure,” she asserts. In between the rows vegetables are grown as intercrops namely ladies fingers and cow peas etc.

    There are other fruit saplings planted in different pockets of the farm namely sweet lime, jamun, sapota and lime. 160 coconuts plants are grown on the farm border. “It will take some time for these plants to yield fruits,” she adds. Presently the farm doesn’t have paddy instead has ladies finger, ridge gourd, cow peas, water melon and musk melon cultivation.

    Greenhouse

    Greenhouse was erected after constant pestering and follow-up with Coimbatore based supplier. “He would just not complete the work on time even after taking the money! The unprofessionalism exhibited by the greenhouse supplier cannot be explained in words!” she recalls and adds, “I experimented with many vegetables and got phenomenal results even though I strictly practice chemical free farming. “ However, the happiness was short-lived as the green house was uprooted completely during cyclone. “Government did promise to pay for the crop losses but it came along with long list of conditions apply. So no financial relief received and I suffered it all by myself!”

    Farming Inputs

    Irrigation - There is drip irrigation installed throughout the farm at 4 feet distance.

    Manure – All manures and bio-pesticides are produced at the farm itself from the dung and urine of country/indigenous breed of cows. “I also buy bio fertilizers on need basis,” she adds.

    Marketing

    “I had a bad experience selling my organic produce to organic stores in Chennai. They cheated me by not paying the money at all giving some lame excuse for watermelon. Further, these organic stores in cities are worse than traders. They bought ladies finger from me at Rs. 24/kg but they sold the same at Rs. 75/kg. So I do not sell my farm produce anymore to these stores instead prefer selling it in the regular market where prices are better. I sold ladies finger at Rs. 40/kg and earned Rs. 36/kg after paying the commission of Rs. 4/kg. So these figures say it all,” highlights Ms. Chithra. In addition organic stores are not bulk buyers as maximum they ask for 15-20 kg and rest of the quantity need to someone else. “I find it profitable to sell fruits and vegetables at Chengalpattu market, 25 km away from my farm.”


    Problems

    Paddy was planted but it was sold off at throw away prices because of lack of storage and processing facility. “We could produce 20 bags (capacity – 80 kg) and sold it off at Rs. 1050/bag because of threat of insect attack. Further for paddy processing the processors ask for minimum 150 bags. There are many specifications thrown at the farmers that persuade them to sell their produce at low-cost!” she narrates.
    Labour is another problem area in farming because of the 100 day scheme introduced by government, “They don’t want to work at all!”

    In time to come she wants to add country hen rearing in the farm. “I want to make it as an integrated farm,” she reveals. Ms. Chithra is chartered accountant and cost accountant by qualification. She also did diploma in computer applications. Prior to being an organic farmer she was working as General Manager in one of the leading newspapers in Chennai. “Inspite of so many problems in farming I take lot of pride in being called as farmer. I shall continue to do farming because I am determined to make it through!” she signs off.


    Contact details:

    Ms. K Chithra
    189/2D2, 188/2B, Melma Road. Melma Village. Vedavakkam P.O. Maduranthakam Taluk. Kancheepuram 603 303.
    Mobile: 09789835644
    Email: kchithraa@yahoo.co.in
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  2. kmrao6

    kmrao6 New Member

    Wonderful and inspiring story. Being a trained professional in commerce, please tell me frankly whether farming is profitable?
     
  3. sugusonu

    sugusonu New Member

    God Bless you Ms. Chithra. Brave lady. Pl keep it up . Wl call u on phone. Best of luck! Rgds
     

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