Farming on my mind, in my soul, need guidance

Hello Farmnest,
Firstly thanks to all of you for creating and managing this wonderful site. If it was not farmnest I would not live this dream of getting in to farming. I am born and brought up in Mumbai but past few years I don’t like the life that I was living. I am single and at 35 years old hence can dare to move out of Mumbai and stay in a small village within a radius of 150 kms of Mumbai. The specified of 150 kms radius so that I can travel back to Mumbai as and when my family would want me and also  vegetable market, export markets are great in Mumbai.
I am in super confusion in starting this project. Hence need guidance from experts, gurus and even people with no experience in farming as to how should I take up this huge task of setting up a farm. These are few of some issues I am finding answers for:
a) Where to start a project? Talegaon, Nashik, Malsej ghat, etc.
I have searched lands in Nashik. It has so much of vegetable growing area that I am in love with this place. I have even scouted Talegaon, the polyhouse hub in Maharashtra as first I wanted to do only polyhouse farming but lately after getting in to spirituality, natural living and some beautiful threads that I read on farmnest have I decided I would want to go for natural farming. Also the thought that when I don’t like me and my family eating anything with pesticides and chemicals why should I make others eat vegetables and fruits laden with anything non natural. Obviously money is something I will have to earn from the farming that I do but not compromising someone’s health. Also nature is so serene and pure it has to balance so many lives. Just for my monetary gains I should not pollute the nature toxic. So staying at this place I will create such life for myself (along with natural farming) where I will be using non chemical based products for anything and everything. Even the house I will plan to build would be of as much natural material as possible with solar kitchen, electricity being generated by solar panels and wind mill. I know all this will turn out to be expensive and commercially non viable but one thing I am not worried about in this whole process of shifting from city to village is finance (money) part. Polyhouse I will think about on later stage only if I would be able to do it without chemical based pesticide.
b) What kind of land should I buy? Land, water, accessibility, markets, etc.
There are places with very little rains and there are places with rains which pour for almost 5 months in a year.
There are places with no water, with ground water available through bore, through well, through nearby flowing river, through dam close by.
There are lands with lot of rock, places with red soil, places with brown (red and black mix) soil, places with black soil. I would want to grow as many vegetables and fruits as possible so don’t know what kind of soil I should go for.
There are places where water is as far as 2 kms and there are places with no access of road at all.
There are lands which are very close to the main Mumbai Nashik highway and Mumbai Pune highway and there are places where these highways are as far as 40 kms. At the end the produce is to be transported to these highways which are then transported Mumbai, Pune or Nashik
c) Who to buy land from, whom to trust? Investors, brokers, farmers?
Very good lands with good road approach and water are almost in the hands of so called investors. City people have bought lands at good locations and selling it at a premium. The plus points to such lands are that they are said to be clear titled and free of any hassles. Land is clearly marked and most of the time barbed fencing is done as well.
To approach directly to the farmer or local people in the village?
To trust the brokers which I get numbers online, these days mainly olx and other such websites.
As this will be my first buy I don’t know how to go about and whom to trust. At times I feel that as I am from city and I travel by my car people hike up the price and don’t offer me the actual price. So I don’t know whom to trust and how to go about buying the land.

I know it’s me who has to evaluate and understand what and where I should be doing but as I am totally new in the field of farming I don’t know how should I handle all these things. I wish there was some person who would guide me through. I am sure posting here would be of good knowledge transfer and a great help to me. I will be really grateful to people who would read such lengthy post and reply.

Thanks in advance.

Hi Prash,

Let us understand this better; you covered where, what and who. The more basic question you need to answer is ‘why’?
I ask this because you need to be clear in your expectation - sometimes one gets carried away by romantic fantastic dreams but the practical on field reality is vastly different.

To quote an instance, I once had a member from FarmNest visit my farm; he was going to pack up his bags from an IT company abroad to get full time into farming. During the visit in the hot sun, he remarked it was quite a sacrifice on my part to manage the farm; my instant answer to him was that the moment you see this as a sacrifice, you would no more enjoy this.  He agreed.

Once you have this question answered, the rest, I believe are procedural.

Good luck.

Hello Chandra,
Firstly thanks for the reply. Yes your question is right and it comes from anyone I disclose the life I want to live. But it’s true, I really want to live a simple life in a village and yes the profession I would want to get in to is agriculture right now. Once I get a place and start some sort of farming my very next step would be of a plan to start a resort at that place or around, but only if I see a potential for that.

        By the way working in the sun I don’t see it as a sacrifice but I see it as life. I was running a shop in a good locality in south Mumbai. It      was a routine Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm job that I was doing from past 15 years. I use to feel really not worth being in an enclosed air conditioned environment all day. Also Mumbai life is deteriorating day by day with increased level of noise and air pollution along with the maddening traffic it has.

        Since past few years I use to keep looking for alternate options of new business where I would get what I wanted. I chose to start a resort at first but the property rates at usual tourist destinations were super high and apart from that the investment that would go in to building a resort would have been very huge. Hence after lot of info gathering I thought of getting in to farming. Though I have never had a firsthand experience of working in the field I am sure I will be able to do that. Money is not the only thing I am looking ahead for from this farm venture but said that obviously I have to earn my living out of whatever I do. I won’t be totally depended on income from the farm I set up. The shop which I have shut is not on rent, so that income will be or great and definite support for my life ahead.

          The place that I am looking for buying land is Nashik. As I had mentioned above, the farm that I will want to buy would be 150-170 kms radius from Mumbai. Reason a) if I am needed by my family and b) IF I WANT TO be back to that usual city life. Basically close to Mumbai so that I can travel as and when I want to.
   
          I am sure it will not be an easy task. Even searching a land is a big task in itself. Lot of effort is going into but that is how it works. I am very much determined to achieve my goal but I am looking for a proper guide, someone who can make my dream turn in to reality. I am new and striving and will surely make it.
Thanks

Hi
My views

  1. Red Soil, considered best soil.
  2. Not too close to highway, to avoid bad elements and uninvited walkins.
  3. Good permanent approach road to land
  4. Good water source, borewell or channel or lake.
  5. Not too close to village, stay away from village politics, but not from villagers, especially your neighbours. They will be your backbone when you shift.
  6. If you are dependent on farm income, all above are essential.
  7. Should have electricity connection.
  8. If land is fenced, levelled, with running borewells, then it is huge plus. I feel it is worth paying more if you have to choose.
    Others can suggest more ideas.

When we bought our land, we got link from estate agent, we visited, saw healthy crop, next to temple, away from village, decided to buy. We are 45 kms from Mysore city, and it takes 1 hr drive, which is normal if you are used to commuting in city.

Good luck and hope you start soon.
Nikhil

Thank u Nikhil,
    That reply was apt, to the point and very clear.

One thing I guess i projected in a wrong manner is ‘proximity to the nearest highway like Mumbai-Nashik’. What I meant is that at the end the produce has to be transported to either Mumbai or Nashik, hence I would want a land which would be 10 to 15 kms off the main Mumbai-Nashik highway.

Water source I am keen on is lake, river or dam. I dont want to draw water from a borewell. It is unethical and (please correct me if I am wrong) even not as per law.

You are true when u say tp buy a land which is fenced. Brokers have also suggested me to do so. They say that a fenced land with area assessment [mojni(counting) called in marathi] would be from an investor and slightly expensive but it will be better in a longer run as no adjoining land owner will come to claim some part of land.

Hi

Yes I forgot to mention that, the land should have single owner, that is ideal.
I dont know about maharashtra, but here in karnataka, anyone digs a borewell and takes power connection. Power is free. And farmers have support to do anything for votes.
I dont know what is wrong is digging for water, others can correct me. yes, there needs to be law to regulate number of borewells, but as such ground water storage has benefits.
To avoid evaporation losses and other pollution, I feel water is best stored underground. To help this, you can have rainwater storage, percolation pits and use ground water as per requirement using drip lines etc.

Nikhil

Yes, the land should be better in single name. I also agree about the water storage system but the main problem I am finding currently is to get a land. So once I get a land I will start working on other things. If someone has a known person in Igatpuri-Nashik belt it would be great help.
Thanks

Prash, u r having good market for your agricultural products.
But if u do the market research first then u’ll have a clear idea of the profit u r going to make and the crop u r going to deal with (a single crop may teach u a new lesson everytime u grow it).
Agriculture is all about quality and maketing, so keep ur mind sharp and do the quick math cause u gonna need it a lot (belive me, I m the traveller of same road) also count ur profit on plant not on land size…

Hello Prash,
If you have no exp in farming till now, my advice would be to start doing it in a small piece of land nearby where you work (may be within one hour distance from where you stay now). No need to buy land now, try your best in a leased out land. See if you are getting adjusted to farming and whether you are getting sustained income from that leased out land. Atleast try and see if you can get vegetables for yourself without depending on outside market vegetables. Try your best to see how you can keep away the pests and what are different ways of keeping the pests away. How the land can be irrigated with less water, how to survive without chemical fertilisers etc etc…unless you do research your own with your plants and soil, you are not going to learn much and earn much consistently.
Try this for one or two years and see how it works for you. You are still @ 35. There is lot of time left even if you do some research for a year or two. There is no need to jump into farming by resigning your job and buying more land with whatever money you have. Try it out with leased land and if it works very well, go for it 100%. During this one or two years, search for a good land with plenty of water availability. By this time you will have farming friends locally who can help you in getting good fertile cheap lands.
Last but not the least, since you are single and if planning to move into a married life sooner or later, see that you select your better half who is 100% adjustable with your farming plan and has passion for it like you :slight_smile:

Yes, true when u say market research has to be done before planting anything. But I am at the stage of acquiring land. I am not worried about the market in general because the land (hopefully) will be between Mumbai and Nashik. Hence will be able to send the produce to either of the markets. The land cost will be totally not included in the business as I am sure recovering that cost might be impossible from agriculture.

Hello Rakeshkk,
  You are totally right when u say I should first try my hand on actual ground and only then should I buy land. But as it is I have to buy some land for investment purpose. So the idea of buying my land and going ahead in that manner. Frankly one hour from my house in Mumbai, even in a fast train (which travels without traffic) I wont be out of muncipal limits of Mumbai. I will have to travel at least 3 hours to reach to a place where i can buy a land.

  But your suggestion is very valid and I will surely explore the options. Truly buying a land would be possible only by staying in that area. Its really difficult to go for 2-3 days, explore and understand the area. Thats why I am also looking for a person from igatpuri - nashik area.

Thanks

Prash,

i congratulate you in taking the stance to be a natural farmer, to avoid chemicals and pesticides as much as possible. i agree with all the opinions here. personally doing private home gardening is better starting point. farming is very technical and intellectually challenging like any other profession as i mentioned to you.

what you are interested in is called

“Agritourism” or “Agricultural Tourism”

redscarabtravelandmedia.wordpres … sm-trails/

this is when farm houses or plantations offer a guest house for tourists to stay in to observe the farm activities, and provide local tours. Kerala is known for this.

another word is “Farm Homestay” or “Farmstay”

redscarabtravelandmedia.wordpres … egions-12/

The Govardhan Eco Village outside of Mumbai is one kind of agritourism stay.
It is an organic farm that hosts foreign tourists who are Hare Krishna movement followers.

ecovillage.org.in/simple-liv … community/

Aaranyam Farms is another kind of organic “Farm Homestay” located in Kerala
aaranyamfarms.com/tarrif.html

but the key to these is having stellar accommodations, safe, clean, hygienic, and outstanding restaurant services.

Organic Farmers in Maharashtra
ofai.org/wp-content/uploads/2011 … ashtra.pdf

THANKS A TON JASMINE.
  This is wealth of information u have provided. I am really grateful to u for assorting all this information and posting it here on farmnest.
Thank u once again

Prash,

This link will help.

ofai.org/resources/

ofai.org/contact/

According to Jayant Barve these people are doing organic farming in Nasik. This came from that list.

MILIND & BALBAIN MURUGKAR
892/2/2 Urgas, Plot No 7 Chetan Nagar, Near Seimens Colony, Nashik – 422 009, Maharashtra. (Source: Jayant Barve)

I also found this from the Organic Farmers List. But have heard bad things about BAIF.  So be careful with this one.

MAHARASHTRA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER FOR RURAL AREAS (MITTRA)
BAIF – Mittra Bhavan, Opp. Niwas Homes, Behind Bodhale Nagar, Nashik -422 011, Maharashtra. Ph.: 0253 2416057 / 58, Fax: (0253) 2416056, Email: mittra_nsk@dataone.in
Contact: Sanjay M. Patil, Programme Director, Mob: 09869985820
BAIF works in the area of regeneration of soil. (Source: Brochure)*

Prash,

Good to hear that you are keen to do farming. We need more of your type in Mumbai ! You will need to consider the following points (amongst others):

  1. Identifying a suitable location: If you are looking at the Mumbai - Nashik belt, you have to look beyond Shahpur. Till Shahpur, you have high concentration of industries, and higher risk of ground water contamination. Beyond Shahpur the area is suitable for organic agriculture. You have the Bhatsa Dam area (Atgaon, Khardi), Kasara, Igatpuri (on the plateau) and then beyond Nashik area (Ozar, Niphad, etc). With your requirement of being 170 Km / 3 hours away from Mumbai, your areas would be upto Igatpuri which is about 120 km or 2.5 hours away from South Mumbai.

  2. Economics of farming: Please research this properly. There are stories about people earning 10-15 lacs per acre from intensive farming. I am skeptical about this being done on a consistent basis and at any proper scale. (I haven’t come across any small farmers who have bought SUVs from farming income. They can only do this after they have sold their farm land to city people !).

  3. Buying land. This will be your most significant investment. Good land in the Khardi/Igatpuri belt can set you back anything from 15 lacs to 50 lacs per acre. Good land is land that (1) has water (2) road access (3) power access (4) decent soil and topography.

  4. Farming Infrastructure: High yield farming needs high investments. Drip irrigation is about 40K per acre, and poly houses are about 1 lac per gunta (1100 sft). You will also need to fence land, build storage sheds, place on the farm to stay, for yourself and at least one full time help (family).

All in all setting up a farm from scratch, consumes considerable time, energy and finances. I live in South Mumbai and am in the process of setting up a farm in Igatpuri (for the last 2 years now). Willing to share whatever information you may need.

Good luck.

Thanks SandeepM,
    Great to read your reply. U have very well explained. I just spoke to someone today and they said that it was difficult for them to even get cost of seed by growing vegetables. I dont know how will I survive. Buying land is the most difficult of the process it seems though. I really thank people like u who encourage me with the plans I am looking forward for.
Regards and all the best for your project.

Dear Mr SandeepM 

Can you please advise the Prevailing Rates  around Igatpuri  or  any where beyond  Shahpur 

pandyak70@gmail.com

Thanks And Regards

Kalpesh P Pandyya

Dear Prash
Gone through your lengthy thread(nearly scanned it,being too long).I view your sincerity and dedication towards agriculture.Pl be worryless,You are granted liberty to use my brain and utilize your brawn in the soil.This is the formula for success.As written to you in my previous messages,you will get my full advise and guidance which will see you through.Luckily or unluckily the search for land by forum members has gone in to deep slumber stage .Any way it appears you have not been able to get any good land so far.After establishing you I will look at my other projects in U.P.With good wishes,
RC Dixit

Dear Kalpesh,
My experience is that rates around Igatpuri are 15 - 50 lakhs per acre.
Regards
Sandeep

Ok  Thank you for your Reply and Rates Idea

Kalpesh Pandyya