Economics of Farmland NGO

Hi forum members,

I’m currently living in New Delhi, recently completed my post-graduation in Environmental Science. I would like some practical advice from all you experienced folks. Let me apologise in advance, my questions may seem a bit juvenile. Kindly bear with me :slight_smile:

I wanted to buy land for an NGO, as an Ashram for people in need (especially women but open to all in need) and also to serve as shelter for rescue animals and retired working animals. I would like to know if additionally conducting agricultural activities on such a land would be profitable enough for me to sustain small-scale NGO activities instead of relying solely on grants and donations.

Till now, I have zero practical experience (there are no agriculturists in my family either) but I have theoretical knowledge in forestry/agroforestry systems, so I’m not an utter beginner here.
I can make an initial investment of about 20-25 lakhs.
I do not own any land. I am open to buying anywhere which is conducive.

Through this forum and other internet resources, I see that horticulture in polyhouse can be expected to yield good returns. But then again, I do not know which States give a (substantial) subsidy for the same. Perhaps I could set up in some such state which would have maximum subsidy/cheapest bank loans.

Also I hear of Casuarina junghuhniana cultivation in the South yielding good returns.

I have read about the farmer earning 22 lakh out of 2.1 acres, but that clearly is not the norm as everyone can’t do everything ranging from rose cultivation to dog breeding.

The main question I’d like to ask is – is it a delusional dream that an NGO, even if small, can be run on agricultural/forestry-based profits? Or is the money generated only enough for a decent personal lifestyle?

Also, to make the best choice before buying any land, I wold like to know which state/states have the best schemes and subsidies for profitable cultivation (say, for polyhouse or Casuarina or any other profitable means)?

Lastly, I came across a forum member posting about a polyhouse training workshop held at KVK Baramati. Could anybody kindly help me in getting names of some workshops, meetings, training programmes held in the North that would help a beginner like me get some hands-on experience?

Many thanks in advance…

Dear Sri Forestlover,

Casuarina Junghuhniana ( sarugudu , savuku etc } is a good money making plantation. You can earn good safe earning with this plantation in 3.5 to 4 years.

One padmasri Venkatapathi Reddiar sir , of Sri Lakshminarayana Crossandra Innovative centre, has devlopped , introduced and selling the high yielding MIQ Casuarina Junghuhniana plants, which are developped on vegetative propegation.

His nursery is in Ponducherry state, koodapakkam village ( 15 kms from Pondichery city ), on phone number 09443226611.

He is a great farmer who got a padmashree from Govt of India, a farmer i think first time in india.

With best wishes,  g.p.rao,  farmer

Thank you very much for the info Rao Sir. Will definitely contact Padmashri Reddiar Sir.

Hi forestlover,
when i saw your first line about NGO for needy people, i thought of many suggestion. but when i saw that you are looking for profit making agri-venture, i was confused. Both an NGO and agriculture venture are long-term business models, that can only give you profits much later - 5-10 years. so keep that in mind.

Decision about growing Casuarina or any other plant depends on too many factors - regional climate, land location, soil type, water availability, labour, etc. so do not make any decision unless you are clear about these things first. there are many experts who have already given their gyaan on Farmnest, whom you can contact.

But my suggestion to you is, first decide on whether you are clear about establishing your NGO first. which one matters. for example, if it is for elderly people, then you cant do much. if it is destitute women, you can try considering the plant type that can yield produce and those women can help in farm activity. if it is animals, then goat farming or piggery could be suitable with that.

Dear Sri Forestlover,

Up to my knowledge, farmers can be of 4 types.

  1. Some farmers, along with their family members, will be working in their land, from morning to evening and even in the nights also (for pumping water as current comes in the nights.). Generally they will be doing agriculture,like growing paddy, Ragi, Vegetables, flowers etc .

  2. some farmers stay in the farm, them self and  they construct house, labour quarters,and employ labour and staff. Generally they grow floriculture, Green houses, Poultry / goat-sheep, dairy farms etc.

  3. Some farmers do the above but they will be visiting the farm once in a week and grow fruit , green houses, forestry plantations etc.

  4. Some farmers only purchase land, keep some labour quarters,employ labour and do only some forestry plantations like teak, silver oak, eucolyptus etc, and may or may not visit in general and they are called sleeping farmers. They only see it as an investment.

I advise you , you please select one in the above and inform the forum about your involvement ( or your Managers invovement ), and we will advise you suitably.

I appreciate your thought of running the NGO with your own earnings. wish you all the best.

g.p.rao,    farmer

Mr. Levine and Mr. Rao, many thanks for taking the time to write detailed replies.

Mr. Rao, thank you for your appreciation, Sir. I will be like type #2. But I would prefer not to do animal farming as culling would not be possible for me…

Mr. Levine, I see your point that both are long-term affairs. My plan is that I would like to establish a farm first, and when the revenue is made after 5-6 years, I will start the NGO activities then.

I intend to open the NGO for people before animals, and women and youth to start with so that they could be involved with farm activities. Later on, if rescue animals are given shelter, they can provide manure. And farm organic waste would be used as feed for animals. Profit generated from produce will go towards the maintenance of the NGO.
So, in the short term, the NGO would focus on women and youth, middle term would be certain animals, and if funds permit, long term will be for as many individuals as I can help.

Since I do not currently own land, I thought it would be better to decide on what to cultivate first (depending on what is the most reliable crop to make money) and after this, buy land with factors conducive to the decided crop. I hope such an approach would work…