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An accidental Agripreneur's journey towards organic farming


Meet an inspiring agripreneur from a small town in India contributing towards sustainable development through organic farming.



Background


Achintya completed his master’s in computer applications in 2004. His father has begun an agricultural project with some of the unemployed youth of the locality. In the absence of a satisfactory job prospect post his studies, Achintya joined his father in the agricultural project.


The idea probably germinated from there as he began to learn the basics of agriculture about which he knew nothing. Residing in the comparatively smaller industrial town of Durgapur close to Kolkata in West Bengal, India it is not always easy to gain access to many of the facilities and the resources that are readily available in the city. They began with the cultivation of aromatic grass and had also set up a plant for the same. However, it failed, and the investors also lost interest in them.


They continued to pursue their interest in farming and this time they started integrated farming. Their first problem was the challenge of a barren land. To address that they carved out seven ponds on their land. The rest was used for growing fruits, orchards, and vegetables.



Achintya at work in his garden



The training and knowledge sharing


Achintya sought the help of a premiere institute of India located in Kharagpur the Indian Institute of Technology. At the institute he learnt the basics of integrated farming. At this stage they also ventured into vermicompost projects. This was in the years 2004-05. Around 2014 he attended a training programme organized by Welthungerhilfe, one of the premier development organisations of Germany. He came to know a lot about organic farming.


This was followed by a certificate course on Agroecology which was organized by a joint collaborative programme of Indo-Norwegian initiative. As an agripreneur he visited Germany sponsored by Welthungerhilfe to attend the G20 conference in 2017. He has also visited Norway in 2018 for two months as a guest scholar at Norwegian University of Life Sciences.


Achintya with Muhammad Yunus, Noble Peace Prize Winner and Founder of Grameen bank at the G20 conference




All about his farm


He has 20 acres of farmland currently. Five acre is dedicated for water harvesting. And on the rest, it is all about growing fruits and vegetables. Three acres is dedicated to seasonal vegetables. The fruits include – Mango, Guava, Lemon, Jackfruits, Lychee, Water apple etc.

Polygreen House and shade net are used to grow vegetables during off season. There are 100 bed units for vermicomposting.


Recently he has also started rearing goats and ducks. Dairy and poultry are also areas where he has ventured. He earns his living by selling saplings, fruits, fish, egg, milk chicken etc. There are products made from fruits like jam, jelly and pickles which are also sold.


He has received a number of awards for his green initiative. "Krishak Samman" in the year 2015 and "Kriti Krishak" in 2016 from the Government of West Bengal



His views on organic farming


Inorganic farming is polluting the environment – water and air especially. It requires a lot of hybrid seeds which are harmful for the land. In addition, there is the cost and the harmful impact of fungicide and pesticide. He emphasizes that,


Through organic farming we can save ourselves from these additional problems in addition to contributing to our environment in a positive manner.

Stating the difference between organic farming and natural or ecological farming, he says that there are inputs and resources required for both but in the case of the latter everything can be acquired from the field itself. He predicts that in future the way the cost of chemicals is increasing, this is the right time to switch to organic farming and contribute towards producing hygienic food as well as saving the nature.




Achintya with Vandana Shiva, the noted Indian scholar and environmental activist



He is happy to state that now he employs around 15 people who work all year round in his field. In addition, during seasonal grafting, he employs an additional 20 labourers for three months.



In case you are interested to know more about his journey and organic farming you can reach him at achintya28@gmail.com and durgapur.biogarden@gmail.com





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25 may 2023
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