Our extended family has land near Hyderabad (20kms from ECIL or Uppal, 7kms from Keesara). I and my uncle are interested in setting up a farm/plantation in our 16 acres of land. We both are working fulltime as software engineers in Hyderabad (near gachibowli, approx 1.5 hrs drive or 55 kms from land) and are not planning to completely leave our job and switch to farming at least in the near term. We are not from a farming background so this is completely new to us.
In 2010, we constructed 2 poultry sheds of 10,000 capacity each. We leased it several times and most of the time, lease incurred losses due to low growth and mortality of chicks. We came to know only the winter batch of chickens used to gain good weight and less mortality. Our land is surrounded by small hills and rocks and almost no trees in our land. So we think the heat in summer is the reason for low chicks growth and mortality. For the last few years it is vacant. Though lot of ppl asking us to rent the poultry farm but we are not interested because the original issue (heat) needs to be fixed.
So we are in search of what, how, and whether to start the plantation. Any guidance/pointers in this direction would be of great help to us.
- Interest in growing trees. Personal satisfaction. Our family can spend some time at farm when we visit our village. Also, we can consume fruits/produce from our farm.
- It can be a source of income for my parents who live in the village.
- It also acts as a security to our land. Land rates appreciated a lot in recent times. Leaving unattended doesn’t feel like a good option for the longterm.
- An option for retirement if we settle in our village in the future (I am 30 and my uncle 40 years old). If profits are great, we can think of early retirement also (but want to keep a realistic expectation).
- At least financially self-sustainable if not good profits. Should be able to generate revenues to meet atleast regular farm expenditure including labour, maintenance etc.
- We have a bore of 1 inch water. (we drilled it for poultry farm). (Also water is bit hard/saline). I heard ppl saying this won’t be sufficient for not even a 2-3 acres of any plantation even with drip irrigation. So what are our options? To drill additional bore?
- At present, we lease land for cattle grazing. we get Rs.20,000 per year for the whole 16 acres.
- How to get soil testing done? soil is wheatish in color with lot gravels. Locals say our soil/sand is good for the construction of buildings.
- There are some scattered custard apple (sithaphal) trees in our land growing on their own. Neighboring lands have mango plantations and paddy fields.
- Willing to invest upto 10 to 20 Lakhs.
- Would prefer less labour intensive plants. It seems getting labour is becoming difficult in our area.
- Since our land is near to hyderabad (even daily city buses come to our village), suggest plantations which could benefit from this.
Some of our thoughts:
- Almost zero maintenance approach: plant timber trees like red sanders, sandalwood and teak in all the land. Care for initial 2-3 years till plant gets set. then leave it for next 20-25 years. Security might be a problem in later years.
- All season fruit plantation: plant different trees like mango, guava, sithaphal, pomegranate, lemon, orange, anjeer, tamarind, jamun etc such that every month we should get some harvest for monthly income. Also, it will reduce our risks due to untimely rains, pest attacks, variations in market prices. We need to hire a family or two to stay in and look after the farm fulltime. (still can accommodate few longterm timber trees like red sanders, sandalwood in farm peripheries.)
- Experimental plantations: like herbals (ashwagandha, aloeveera) or exotic plants (date palm, dragon fruit) etc. It looks like a big gamble but all success stories on TV or youtube are mostly about these plantations. Not sure to what extent they are true.
Along with above, thinking of possibility of constructing a farm house along with some recreation facilities (paint ball, shuttle, volley ball) for renting in weekends. Also with the plantation, I think the temperature on the farm will come down a bit and we can restart/rent poultry farm.