Believe it or not! Tomato plants can grow upto 30 feet tall
Advancement of agricultural research has increased farm yields but the lower returns for produce and rising costs of chemical and other inputs have made agriculture unprofitable. Farmers like Manoj Bhatia sought new ways to increase their farm incomes and inspire other to follow his path of tech agriculture.
Manoj left his growing corporate career as an operations manager, Punjab at Godrej Adhar, an agri retail division of Godrej Agrovet limited & went back to his farming roots. His last drawn salary was 8 lacs per annum
Team Theagrihub is proud to present the Inspirational story of Manoj Bhatia from Karnal, who took up technology driven farming as a career.
Even though Manoj had a Post-graduation in Vegetable Sciences, he never took farming to start with. Only after few of his close friends informed him about the benefits of modern farming, in the year 2010 he was inspired to take up farming on a 2.5 acres land out of the 8 acres owned near Karnal.
Baby step to Giant step in the process of farming
He started with open field seasonal crop on 2 acres of capsicum and ½ acres of water melon under drip irrigation with an investment of Rs. 1.5 lakh. This year he could not get profits from his failed crop of capsicum but he recovered Rs 1.7 lakh in a small area of ½ acres from watermelon. This inspired him to increase the cultivated area to 4.5 acres next year.
He found climatic variations the biggest obstacles on the way to his success. In order to reduce the dependence on nature he went high tech and is using protected farming technologies like polyhouse and net house. At present Manoj has 32 acres vegetable farming in open field and 3 acres of protected structures where he grows 5 to 6 varieties of vegetables like tomatoes, egg plants, bitter gourd, Bottle Gourd, Sponge Gourd, Cucumber and Cauliflower depending on the season and market demand.
Technology plays an important role in farming
Manoj has implemented following technologies at his farm for last 6 years:
- Greenhouse/Polyhouse : He uses polyhouse to grow his seedlings, the first step in high-tech agriculture, a healthy seedling helps growing high quality vegetables. He also grows some vegetables in this structures.
- Drip Irrigation: He has adopted this from the world leader Netafim Irrigations for a precise control of irrigation and fertigation. He uses right kind of water soluble fertilizers, soil enrichments and farm equipment’s to get optimum results.
- Double layer Net house technology:
One of the key parameters to succeed in protected farming is to produce for the season when the prices are high and competition is less from the open field produce. Though Manof already had a polyhouse earlier he realised that in karnal’s summer temperature went very high and transplanting in Polyhouse was not possible until 15th of August (The time when temperature begins to come as a down). Vegetables transplanted during August used to come in market only in February as December and January was the peak winter time. Not only that due to the severe winter in poly house crop cycle in a naturally ventilated greenhouse could go only upto April end as temperature started increasing again. In north India, greenhouse planting is done in October for crops like Tomatoes, Capsicum, Egg Plant, Chilli, Cherry tomatoes etc. To overcome this problem, he decided to implement double layered net house technology in which (fixed Outer chromatinet pearl and motorised movable Inner aluminet) transplanting could be done as early as in July. This helped him advancing the crop cycle and supply vegetables in October-November during the wedding season when the prices were high. In this structure it was also possible to extend the crop cycle till June enabling do year around cultivation. In net house he used black and silver mulching supported by a good drainage to drain the excess rain water. A link to his interview on this technology is as follows:
Manoj used mulching and drip irrigation across his entire farm. It was used to improve the conserver moisture, reduce weeds, save labor, better root system
You can make better money than a full time job with right technology in farming:
Speaking on the financial aspects and current scenario of the farmers, Manoj tells he never heard farmers earning more than Rs 50,000 annually these days because they lack in technology adoption.From his protected cultivation in the 3 acres plot, his turnover close to Rs 45 lakhs and more than Rs 1 crore from his 30 acres open field farming per annum with a 60% margin.
Advice to farming enthusiast
Manoj says, “I would ask people to join us to achieve the success, if they have lost hope on farming. There is a lot of scope in farming; if we do the work properly we can earn more than jobs in government and private sectors. Agriculture graduates should come forward and help the farmers in need.” Looking at his success story, 8 well educated corporate employees in his region have left their respective jobs and went to full time farming.
He maintains a perfect work and life balance giving equal importance to entertainment, recreation and fun in life. He is ably supported by his wife Shiwani at times who also helps him in farming and a daughter Suhani, who is studying in seventh grade.
Manoj Bhatia can be contacted on:
# 320, Sector 5
Karnal, Haryana- 132001
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