Savera Farms

Located in Sivagangai (Tamil Nadu) cultivates mediadubia and premium mango varieties

Kaustubh Johri

Savera Farms was founded in 2010 by Mr. Kaustubh Johri, Managing Partner. The company has over 140 acres of land outside Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu. The company is currently engaged in the cultivation of meliadubia and premium mango varieties under ultra-high density cultivation.

“Apart from this, we are running trials for multiple short term vegetable and fruit cropslike chilly, watermelon, turmeric and brinjal. Our activities have a commercial focus with a natural / organic approach. We are also evaluating options and technologies in Hydroponics. If we are convinced about the technology, we plan on starting a Hydroponics Pilot next year. In the coming years we aspire to expand into more scientific cultivation and food processing,” says Mr. Johri.

Speaking about their motivation, Mr. Johri says, “My brother, Nakuland I are from the IT/Engineering background. While we were in the US, westarted exploring opportunities in biomass renewable energy.
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We soon realized that alongwith biomass, commercial agriculture would be a viable option for the Indian market.It provided great scope for growth if pursued with market savvy, scientifically and with determination. Government payment policies for power producers are not very business friendly at this time hence we changed our focus to marketing meliadubia for timber/plywood.

Today, the market environment provides several opportunities in agriculturewhich offer attractive returns and unparalleled job satisfaction,” adding, “Credit also goes to my father, an Air Force officer, who undertook the task of identifying the suitable land at Sivagangai after seeing 100+ lands across TN.”

MeliaDubia
MeliaDubia is a fast growing timber tree. It is part of neem family. In 1 year, it attains aheight of 20 ft and in 2 years it reaches 40 ft. It does not require much water and minimal amount of fertilizer/nutrients is required. The timber from this tree is used inplywood, match, and biomass industry.

Ultra High Density
Traditionally, mango is planted at 10m x 10m spacing. In Ultra High Density cultivation(UHD) method, trees are planted at3m x 3m. It involves continuous pruning from year 2 onwards. So eventually, the tree willnot be higher than 6-7 ft. Due to close spacing, number of trees is almost 11 times per acre,which results in higher yield.Typically, the best 40-50 fruits are picked per tree.

Advantagesof UHD technology is easy maintenance, lesser water requirement, ease of harvest, higheryield. Most orchard crops can be cultivated using this method including guava.

Infrastructure
The company has developed a shade net operation which serves astheir nursery for raising seedlings / saplings and trial grounds for future varieties in largeracreages.

Hydroponics
The company is evaluating Hydrophonics. Speaking about the technology, Mr. Johri says, “Most vegetables and some fruits can be grown using Hydroponics. The return on investmentis attractive for high value crops like colored capsicum,also known as yellow and redpeppers. In Hydroponics, you can tweak most climatic and nutritional attributes hence producing better quality and greater quantity.

Often year round cultivation is possible.Yield projections by consultants and listed online should be validated independently before significant investment is made. Hydroponics infrastructure expenses greatly vary based oncrop and methodology.”

Speaking about the technologies used, Mr. Johri says, “Apart from UHD for mango, our farms are irrigated and fertigated via drip systems. We havealso followed composting technologies from TNAU (from coir pith waste).”

Preventing Pests and Diseases
The company uses a mix of organic and inorganic applications. “Neem oil which is organic has been fairlysuccessful in preventing/mitigating pest infestations. Although we are not totally organic, werestrain from using chemicals excessively,” maintains Mr. Johri.

Achievements
When asked about their achievements, Mr. Johri says, “We feel our drip systems have been a success and efficiently deliver water and nutrients. Wehave over 35 kms of drips lines (laterals) and 5 km of PVC pipes (Main and sub-main pipes)spanning 30 acres. Initial planning and execution was a challenge but since then, we havelearnt several lessons and have become more competent in implementing these systems on our farms. In addition, our shade net cultivation seems to be fast becoming a pre-cursorto our Hydroponic aspirations. We have raised several varieties of crops in it on a small scale and continue to explore new ways to control environment variables like pests, provide irrigation and fertigation.”

He adds, “Our goals for the next year include expanding our acreage under cultivation and high valuevegetable production using Hydroponic systems. Over the longer term, we would be very interested in exploring food preservation and processing opportunities. India is among the most populous nations in the world and the demand (and prices) for food is going to rise.

We are at a threshold of a great opportunity to do good for our people (safefood at reasonable prices), ourselves (profitable ventures) and our environment (sustainable practices). This is a rare combination and we feel we are in the right industry at the right time.”

There are close to 25 people working in the company, including full time and part-time resources. The company receives queries and calls from people living abroad and other parts of India regarding UHD and meliadubia. “Some have visited our farms and a few have even started active land search or farm development activities. I do not charge for any advice or visits. Countless agri-veterans helped me when I was starting out.

They did not charge me anything, so I shall be glad to share my information and experiences with all who are interested. On my blog I try to publish both my trials and triumphs to provide an accurate picture. Hopefully my experiences and successes would inspire others to consider agriculture as well,” maintains Mr. Johri.

The farm is located in Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu. The company marketsits produce / products in Kerela and Karnataka. Mr. Johri did his Bachelors in Electrical Engineeringat Georgia Tech and Masters in Engineering Management at Duke University. He worked in the semi-conductor industry before setting up Savera Farms.

Our Correspondent

For more information, contact :
Mr. Kaustubh Johri, Managing Partner
Savera Farms Mob : 094450 76595
Email : kjohri@gmail.com
www.saverafarms.com

Source : Agriculture & Industry Survey  [/hidepost]