Farming - are there opportunities?


#1

We often hear the extremes about the viability of farming. On one hand we have traditional farmers being distressed, debt-ridden and trying to get out for any other possible avenue, on the other we have a number of entrepreneurs (including new generation IT folks) wishing to enter farming believing it is commercially viable and sustainable if it is done differently.

This topic is an open discussion on what opportunities exist in farming (including the various related fields) and their economic viability. Any ball park revenue estimates are also welcome to be posted.

What is your experience and what do you think?


#2

Agriculture is the lifeline of any country, especially for a country like India where more than 80% of the population is dependent on this as a means of living.  The problem today is of plenty and mismanagement.    Even wastelands can be converted into profitable agricultural plantations by modern farming.  Energy Plantations are plants that have good survival capabilities, quick growth and returns.  Depending on soil, water and climatic conditions energy plants can be chosen from a variety of plants (Bamboo, Melia Dubia, Casaurina, Julia Flora and Paulownia).  These plants can be cut from the second year of plantation and can yield on an average of 40 TPA.  These plants requires less water, less maintenance and less labour.  At Rs.2,000/Ton this is not a bad business.  We at Acclaim Technology Services encourage farmers to look at this option instead of leaving the land barren.    These are also a good source of Biomass for Energy Generation and always in demand.  We can arrange tie-up for buy back too - Div
Contact: acclaim.technology@gmail.com


#3

According to me, the farming is viable only where land, labor and capital is sufficient.

Average land size per capita is very small in India and it also divided in to small pieces day by day. Indian average farmer do not
have enough capital to expand the land size, whereas he is not even capable to purchase the inputs. Most of the farming is dependent on rains and except since last few years, once in a four years was good monsoon. Further the illiteracy of farming community was main hurdle in adoption of new technologies. Thus the farmer could not produce the bread-butter out of Agriculture.

In Gujarat, in my village and nearby, appx 75% of the farming families have left the agriculture and diverted into small scale industries.
However our farmers were not debt ridden, even then they deviated from their parental business due to uncertain climate and agri-prodn…

In a business,we are not generating, but we are converting the things and adding the value. While in Agriculture farmer is multiplying by generation. The matter is to use all the input technically justified,with enough land, labor and capital and proper planning.

The opportunities are very vast, no specific examples but many techies have been succeeded by applying recent technologies. Green House cultivation, Dairy farm, Hydroponics all are the fields where much more opportunities are awaiting.

Regards
Bharat Changela


#4

an traditional farmers problems are related to financial institutes & its hap hazardous manner of giving away more loans (have seen it 1st hand).
while professionals and other enthusiasts sees profitability because of their ability to take risks which increases 10 folds by knowledge acquired through easy sources (online) & providing solutions not satisfied by current system of agriculture like off season supply, intensive farming (mostly for supplying agro-industries), etc.

We need is a self dependent sustainable methods for increasing interdependency within locals & bring about shift in our thinking paradigm towards nature, economy & people.

What i’m saying is simply changing techniques can get you more profits but at what cost? Blindly following advanced methods without accessing its needfulness & its economic, environmental effects thereby.
Green revolution in India was acclaimed & promoted without assessment of its adverse problems (soil sustainability, pesticide toxicity, less effective water management). similarly HYDROPONICS is in no way sustainable to nature especially in terms of maintaining soil conditions & biosphere.

we live in a system where the value to money (not denomination) is controlled by supply & demand, so i feel that when NGO’s come up for helping farmers to increase their produce & to reduce their dept; is complete hypocrisy… :smiley:
We are quite easily influenced by ideas from advanced countries; so we should also learn from their mistakes before making our own.

If taking into consideration of future prospectus, permaculture is only way to safeguard farmers interest. (Lease input, maximum output, & truly 100%organic)
http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_pollan_gives_a_plant_s_eye_view.html

(p.s-above are my naive views & open to discussions:D)


#5

sir i am farmer from yergera near raichur, i have been farming for the last 20 yrs i did my mca and straight way took up farming with a land holding of 4 acres
now i have 35 acres farm land. if do it in a proper way i think farming is the best. only thing is that one should work hard and have confidence. i grow vegitables,grundnut and horticulture crops.if u want any help please contact me on my cell 09900926775


#6

I am a city dweller of Chennai with no experience in farming. Just a few months back I have bought about 29 cents of land and my first crop of rice is due for harvest in mid-February. So I have just a little bit of experience which I would like to share.

There are two main items of expenses for a farmer. First one is for  farm labor and agricultural inputs like cost of seeds , seedlings , fertilizers , pesticides , labor expenses for plowing , preparing the field , harvesting expenses etc. Second one is the repayment of loans with interest from money lenders who charge exorbitant rate of interest. These things when coupled with the vagaries of monsoon make the lives of farmers miserable.

So a prudent attempt should be made to reduce the input costs which is not possible in modern chemical farming and in organic farming . The next available choice is the no-till natural farming which doesn’t require any preparation , fertilizers , pesticides , herbicides etc. So the input cost is greatly reduced . Of course one can not expect the same produce output as in modern farming but since the input cost is very negligible , the net profit for the farmer is high when compared to other modes of farming.

This is my personal view and comments are welcome.


#7

Very nice perspectives, I will raise some questions for discussion however.  :slight_smile:

@Acclaim Technology Servic
Why do you think energy plantations are not a great hit, yet? Are there some limitations a farmer has to consider? - care, theft, soil degradation, pests/diseases etc.? Or is it just a lack of awareness on the commercial feasibility?

@bchangela
I see you believe there are plenty of opportunities and you mention Green House cultivation, Dairy farm, Hydroponics. However, I also see that when any such new concept comes up, a lot of people jump onto it and soon the prices become unremunerative due to high supply for the same demand. I can think of vanilla cultivation as one such example, and similarly we now see a lot of interest in Emu rearing. Do you believe these concepts are sustainable or does a farmer continuously have to look at new concepts? Are there stable avenues to obtain decent returns on an ongoing basis?

@charmneo
Would permaculture support the volumes we need for our population?

@rajajn
Ah, here is a successful techie  :smiley:
Would you like to write a separate topic on how you went about building from the 4 acres to the 35 with details on what challenges you faced and how you managed them? (and add in a few pics if possible). It would be beneficial to a lot of other starters and I would personally be greatly interested!

@asadrazvi2000
Nice write-up to say goat farming is a relatively stable and profitable business. Are there any specific watch-outs one has be careful about?

@varaahan
I know there is a separate interesting topic going on organic/natural farming, but do you believe the net profit is indeed higher with no-till farming when you take lower yields into account? By the way, good luck with your first self-grown plate of rice!

Keep the ideas flowing, everyone!


#8

Of course agriculture or farming is the next generation business. Like the industrial revolution and the IT boom, the next boom is the Agriculture or farming sector. the main reason is the  population increase. To make farming profitable, all you have to do is look at farming like a business (treat it just like any other business.) In any other business you have a capital allocation, infrastructure, marketing system etc etc… But when it comes to agriculture or farming, no body takes it seriously and so they lose out. Consider farming as any other business, have your capital allocation, infrastructure, marketing plan and proper planing and don’t worry it will be a big success. The only setback as of now is that there is no glamour involved in this line of business but money is surely there. The risk associated with any other business is also there but finally you don’t lose because the investment mainly is on land and at the end even if every thing has burned down you still have your land.
I can share my experience in this field to any one who is serious about farming (growing banana, coconut, rice, jasmine, vegetables and livestock like layer chicken, ducks, quail, goats etc etc.) Contact me on kevinblr@hotmail.com or mobile 9845520116. Kevin
:slight_smile:


#9

Great to hear that, Kevin!
Would you be willing to write a topic on the forum with the details?

Edit: Kevin has begun writing his experiences on a separate topic: http://farmnest.com/forum/new-trends-in-farming/profit-is-possible-in-farming/


#10

@Chandra!

I would like to present the economics of farming in the current season in my area.
The farmers who used modern chemicals and fertilizers have so far spent , on an average , a sum of Rs. 12000/= per acre (excluding harvesting expenses which are due by next month).
This works to roughly about Rs. 3500/= for my 29 cents.
But so far I have spent just Rs. 2000/= which includes one time expenditure of making the border bunds right.
And remember I have tilled and plowed my farm this time and I’ll not have to shell my money for this in the next season when I take up no till farming.
I have not visited my farm in this month but farmers say , by observing the flowering of the rice plants, that the quantum of produce will be equal to that of chemical farming.

Even if falls a little short of that of other farms, I still stand to gain.
And add to this the benefit of getting chemical free rice .

Do you still think natural farming is financially not profitable ?

I guess not.


#11

Great ideas from many people. Here is my take on " Opportunities in Agriculture ".

Marketing. This is the key to everything in business. It’s not how much you produce. It’s a matter of how much and how well you can sell your produce.
Many of you have varying degrees of first hand experience in farming and I am sure all of you will agree that there are just two ways to enhance your income as a farmer ; 1. Grow more produce or 2. Get a better price for your produce.

Ideas such as green house, poly house, vermicomposting, hydroponics and so on are correct. Nothing wrong with that at all. The reality is that unless educated and serious minded individuals (like your good selves) create better marketing options for farmers then I am afraid the pace of change in agriculture will be very slow. Demand will outstrip Supply. Prices will go up. Farmers share will remain low!!!

A case in point is; Why can’t urban consumers and the city residents try and create direct linkages with farmers in their respective districts. To get around the nexus of traders and APMC markets the common man and the farmer must create a permanent relationship. NGO’s and other social organizations should get themselves organized and realize how much the poor farmer earns how much they are paying for common vegetables and fruits.

This situation is being exploited by a few people and it’s time the people came together and stake a claim to their rights.

Once farmers and the consumer form a direct relationship then and only then will the farmer earn a fair price for his labour and expenses. We can go on and on talking about new technologies and ideas forever. This is (in my opinion) a little too much to expect from farmers. When residents of building societies begin to adopt a cluster of farmers we will see the meeting of rural and urban civilizations. The market traders and middlemen who exploit prices and hoard the produce will see their fate on the wall.

In Thane city I and a few of my like minded friends (those with a proven track record in public service) are working to implement this marketing model for farmers in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts. We plan to source directly from the farmer or from a farmer’s Mandi and sell the produce in building societies in Thane city area.

For an indication of what I am talking about check out this company in Chennai ; www.matchboxsolutions.com

Remember one simple fact; Unity Is Strength. (Farmer + Consumer = NO Price Manipulation and Hoarding Issues By Traders)

Some key challenges we are going to face are - Logistics. Price fluctuation. Locating farmers. Ensuring a steady supply line.

If anyone is interested to work with our NGO in Thane city or simply to support or guide us then we are open to suggestions and ideas.
Gaurav
8828173283


#12

I have given my ideas regarding the scopes prevailing in the Farming if it is considered as BUSINESS. I am of belief that now a day plenty of resources are available and the communication became fast and easy, and  by applying these advancements, one can get more and stable returns then the traditional farming practices, wherein there were many limitations.
The Green house is one technology which may give continuous returns as compare to our traditional farming where we were dependent on rains and getting only one or hardly two seasonal crops.
Dairy farm is also giving continuous income throughout the year, if not taken it as an allied activity to farming, but Opportunity to be identified as pure profit making independent business.
I am not believing that farmers have to look at new concepts every time, but to look at the opportunities lying in the concepts, to grab it with the available resources with him.
New generation of non-farmers are  showing their keen interest towards farming is the only evidence that lot of opportunities are lying in this avenues.

Regards
BHARAT


#13

Please refer to attached link :  drishtikona.com/archives/rural_d … .php 

The Indra’s Drishtikona (Viewpoints) is the site which inspires and guides the new comers with his thoughts, opinion and comments. 

Mr Indra R Sharma is B.Tech.(Hons.) in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur in 1961.


#14

http://www.thevenusprojectdesign.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=44&Itemid=144

@admin
Although researchers say that pemaculture is going to be the only sustainable method in future (more reasons for us to go organic now), but it cant satisfy the current commercial appetite. I’m not referring to an individual farmer but for agriculture sector. Agriculture industry is booming, its perfect time to sow seeds for ethical & ecological parameters to the industry.

The use of methods should be collaborative for current scenario, like using high intensity hydroponics for energy crops (& ON NON fertile soil) while going completely organic (soil) with daily vegetables & fruits. (Energy crops might not be viable if used for cars etc but for farm operations might be good).
(The ratio or amount of fertile land been converted to non soil greenhouses must be taken seriously).

but
Investment & materials especially the amount of plastic (PE) needed simply for covering farms & other operations; What about the plastic after its use? Many people think that recyclable plastic means 100% reuse. That’s really false; usually referring to some % being reused while rest going into dump yards (incl recycled plastic).
Now considering  the space covered by dump yard say in 10years; pemaculture might be actually more feasible than it seems as it also provides meat.
Why i give so much importance to cradle to cradle analysis is because every industrial revolution creates vast pollution depriving its citizen of good health while providing fake security.

Another thing i noticed is Bio pesticide & bio fertilizers; just like manure these have to be standardized (high standard) & made available cheaply.

(besides you got to realize this- Farming is not just an occupation in india… its a religion)

I hope people take this seriously and start an open source wiki project specifically for farming technology & developing them through collaborative thinking of millions of people. In forums or websites only partial information is given this somewhat limits its development. Besides major breakthrough occurs in any industry using 2 or multiple disciplinary fields collaborating together. India a country of millions cant even use its population in a more future oriented outlook. Notice the sudden innovations boasts from China?


#15

Nice links, bchangela & charmneo.

You touched upon what has been on my mind for a while and I had earlier seen something Govt. of India had already initiated on those lines, though I can’t find a link offhand. It is a great idea but it has to be seen how much information can be pooled without affecting copyrights etc. and at the same time not just reinventing what has already been published in various books.


#16

We should welcome new farmers who are educated and capable of applying modern methods. most of the farmers use excess  chemical fertilisers and pesticides. excess fertilisers attract pests and weeds. so educated can  and apply only that much which is necessary. preference should be for organic farming. traditional farmers cannot fight to get better price whereas educated can form a cartel and demand better price. but they should take the guidance of traditional as they know certain things by experience. and it must be some thing like a union of a financier an educated and a traditional. these three can do miracles.
the partnership  should be like this. investor and educated can be one and same and farmer who is land owner or a lessee. investor invests and the farmer will work on land and arrange the necessary manpower. when yield comes both will share equally with no interest for the finance . if properly planned the investor gets more than the interest what he gets. of course it is subject to the climate.


#17

the government policy in india is to drive away all people from villages and take them to cities/metropolises. convert every village into an industrial belt to produce more and more to earn more and more money. only money growing is the main goal for the country.
this is called as development. india wants to be a fully developed country and not an underdeveloped country. it means no agriculture and only commerce and industry.
in such a case where is the infrastructure for farming in the rural locations. no labour, no materials. is it possible to do farming only with money? the so called IT people think that with their money power they can do agriculture. it is a myth. agriculture needs a very big and fragile infrastructure that was built by the earlier kings in the British rule. the independent india has destroyed a very sound agricultural infrastructure which was self sustaining and viable in life.
agriculture will be viable only when that infrastructure is again rebuilt by the king. the problem is the foolish king. yatha raja thatha praja.


#18

What history & my personal opinion has taught me that leaving such projects in hands of government always screws up its usefulness. but im a adaptive designer i have to be optimistic.


#19

Bharat -

Have you had much success with Greenhouse cultivation, esply with implementing Hydroponics? We are considering Hydroponics as our next (and natural) step forward once we are ready to move from in-ground cultivation to mass production in soil-less conditions.

The overwhelming constraint so far seems to be the prohibitive costs structures for the required infrastructure. Are you aware of or working with any financiers (banks, investors, private / public orgs) who are interested in working with entrepreneurs?

Best regards,
Nakul Johri
Savera Farms
Follow our progress at : http://techie2aggie.blogspot.com/


#20

Dear country men,
                        Today met a active farmer in his farm land which is in hot city of chennai exactly near DLF IT park porur.Felt very said on hearing his words.He was suprising the work going while i stepped into his farm i generally asked him how much kilo rice he cultivated in last season he totally burst out,this is the last cultivation in his farm and got advance from some real estate owners for putting plot already 10 acres around him sold to some people and they are well settled now.he added me that last period he got only 6 bags from one acre and no profit and no men for work.while talking his son came and introduced himself and said me the neighbouring land owner already stopped agriculture and he was taxed by government nearly 45000rs  commercial land and so he is selling his land in one r two months which will be getting around 13crores finally the farmer said me next time while im coming cant able to see  the agriculture land.
      no words to say just stepped out