Switches to hi-tech farming techniques and attains the fortune
Farm infrastructure of 7 poly houses, 2 rain water harvesting ponds, fan pads in 10,000 sqm and 40KW solar panels enables Mr. Khemaram Choudhary to attain minimum annual turnover of Rs. 1 crore. It is next to a marvel to see a complete change in the life of the farmer who just couple of years back was fighting hard to repay mounting debts and earn adequate income to meet the ends!
Mr. Choudhary didn’t bring change only in his life but is a facilitator in transforming his entire village Guda Kumawatan located in Jaipur District, Rajasthan. Now Guda Kumawatan village is recognized as Mini Israel because it has more than 200 poly-houses and farmers are progressive in adapting to latest farming technologies.
“The change came only after I quit the ancestral farming of growing grains (wheat, bajra) using flood irrigation. Although I didn’t have any bank balance but due to high risk taking appetite I installed drip irrigation in my farm in 2006-07 taking government subsidy. Then the next change was mulching and moved the farming attention from grains to fruits and vegetables precisely ice-burg watermelon and European cucumber. Subsequently I got the bumper crop and earned reasonable profits. In the mean time I also got selected for Rajasthan Government sponsored agriculture tour to Israel country in 2011 and since then it has been consistent improvement by many folds,” he adds.
Israel tour introduced Mr. Choudhary to the world of hi-tech farming. He was spellbound to see high production in poly house and use of solar power in farming. He was then determined to re-create the system in his own farm. “Soon after reaching home I started working on setting up the poly house as seen in Israel. With the support of agricultural officers and government subsidies my first poly house was installed in 4000 sqm area with the investment of Rs. 33 lakh. The first crop grown was European cucumber and the production cost was Rs. 1.5 lakh. I earned Rs. 12 lakh from cucumber in just four months. It was my first experience of earning profit in farming!” he reveals. Then after it was expansion in farming area and infrastructure step by step. “Now within the span of 6-7 years I have 7 polyhouses, invested Rs. 2 crore in farm infrastructure without subsidies and Rs. 50-60 lakh is my annual profit!” reveals Mr. Choudhary.
Water is the most important and scarce resource therefore to use it efficiently and secure it drip irrigation and rain water harvesting are mandatory for the farmers. “It was extremely painful to see the rainwater flowing away from my farm thus in half hectare area I built two ponds to collect the rain water. With this I irrigate my poly house and open cultivation farm for six months using drip system. It saves lot of money,” he highlights. To make it even more beneficial he has fish in the ponds not for selling but for improving the quality of the water and prevention from pest! “In stagnant water algae occurs naturally. It not only contaminates the water but also blocks our water filter used in drip system. Therefore I keep fish in both the ponds that eats away the algae and its pee and poo enhances the nutrients in the water that boost the growth of our plants. Lastly, we have halogen lights on all sides of the pond. We turn on the lights for entire night. It attracts all the pests that could attack our plant. The pests somehow fall in the water and becomes food for fish and our crop is protected,” he elucidates. The lights are run on solar power.
Solar panels were installed in the farm in 2011 itself. Capital investment is high but the ROI is less than six months according to Mr. Choudhary. “Solar panel sets farmers free from the struggle of many problems be it no-electricity or soaring prices of diesel. Farm operations have become extremely efficient with this system,” he says. Fan Pads in his farm are run using the solar power.
Fan Pad is one of the most expensive systems in agriculture. It has been installed in 10 thousand sqm at Mr. Choudhary’s farm at the cost of Rs. 80 lakh. “It is worth the investment. I earn four times of my earlier profit due to fan pad because with this I take the off-season harvest. Irrespective of the climatic conditions any crop can be cultivated because the temperature can be controlled,” he adds.
Speaking of different crops grown in poly house he says, “We tried many different crops such as strawberry, coloured capsicum etc but highest profit earned so far has only been in European cucumber. Now I am trying hard to get a successful harvest in exotic musk melon as it has good demand for 9 months in a year. However it is extremely susceptible to attack of wilt and white fly. It damages the entire crop and leads to a total loss if the crop is attacked as till now there is no solution to the same. I am doing the research to solve this problem in my poly house and once some break through is attained I shall propagate this crop tremendously amongst other farmers as it has less production cost and gives high profits.”
In future Mr. Choudhary wants to work vigorously in chemical free farming practices, diversify in gir cow dairy farming, mushroom and pearl cultivation. However he strongly recommends poly house farming for lucrative returns. “Initial investment is certainly high but the earning are more too. Farmers need to invest and reap good profits. It is possible with polyhouse farming,” he concludes.
Mr. Khemaram Choudhary
Gudha Kumawatan Village, Bobas Tahsil, Fulera, Jaipur District, Rajasthan – 303338