It was five years ago when Rajesh Gaidhani left his lucrative corporate job in an automobile company where he was working for 26 years. Leaving his job didn’t come easily to Rajesh but his penchant towards farming compelled him. Many people mocked Rajesh at the time but his family stood with him, extending their full support. A graduate in engineering with a diploma in business management, Rajesh started to spend full time in farming in his native village in Maharashtra.
The journey towards organic farming
Rajesh only knew a little about farming when he quit his job. As a child, he used to visit the farm with his parents until the age of 17. But, for 33 years he completely kept away from farming.
However, Rajesh wanted to come back to it – not modern, but traditional farming without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides.
“The initial days were very difficult. Because when you go against the regular flow, nobody supports you. I have gone through dark periods, it was difficult to convince people. But now, things are on track,” Rajesh said to The Logical Indian.
Rajesh’s way of farming
In his 16 acre farm located in Bhandara district in Maharashtra, Rajesh cultivates two types of crops – conventional crops like rice, wheat and channa and medicinal crops like tulsi and vekhand.
Six acres are entirely dedicated to cultivating medicinal plants. Rajesh says that medicinal plants can act as good preservatives and fertilisers and can be a remedy treat ailing farmers.
He converts dried vekhand roots to powder. “Vekhand powder can increase soil fertility from 0.4 to 0.9 (1 symbolises 100% fertility). This powder also acts as a preservative for food grains,” Rajesh said. He has been using the extract of Vekhand to keep pests away from his farm. “In 2013, when I started farming the soil fertility of my land was 0.4 . After three years, in 2017, it has increased to 0.9,” he added.
On an experimental basis, Rajesh had filled four bags with 50 kg of rice, channa, dal and wheat. He powdered vekhand roots to it and the grains remain pesticides free even after one year. He makes use of other organic fertiliser like vermicompost, vermiwash, cow urine, green manure, etc.
Rajesh says that it only costs Rs 5-6,000 per year for one acre when using these organic fertilizers and pesticides.
According to Rajesh, farmers should study about the quality of their land first in order to gain profit. “You can not grow anything successfully if your land has lost its fertility. Spend one or two years for improving your land’s quality. If so, you can produce superior quality of crops. Nothing will happen overnight, it will take some time.”
Rajesh wants other farmers to follow an organic model of farming through low-cost farming techniques and gives free training sessions to farmers at different places. He is open to having visitors in his organic land and always shows a keen interest in giving tips for farming. He encourages farmers to make use of vekhand powder as a preservative for food grains. Apart from government officials and NGOs, hundreds of farmers had visited Rajesh’s farm for attending training sessions and to get tips for organic farming.
He wants the farmers to concentrate on two aspects of farming – before harvesting and after harvesting. “After harvesting, farmers should start agro-processing. Their duty is not finished with harvesting. I own a rice mill and I have my own rice brand. If there is a facility that can help local farmers to process their product, it will safeguard them from huge losses,” Rajesh said.
His main aims include cultivation and production of poison-free food for society, improving soil fertility, biodiversity at farms, low-cost farm production, optimum utilisation of natural resources, integral farming, the involvement of youngsters in farming, and to make farming as a business model.
The Logical Indian community congratulates Rajesh for achieving 100% natural farming. His techniques can be duplicated by farms across the country. State governments should promote organic farming and give access and training to farmers to produce crops that are both profitable to them and the consumer.