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Farmer from Uttarakhand Talks about growing herbs organically and problems of marketing

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Kailash with growing crops

Kailash Maithani is a resident of Kashipur in Uttarakhand. He has worked with a friend on organic farming for last few years. He is part of a group of 150 growers and all of them are organic farmers. In his video released in Krishi Jagran FTB, he showed his house in the background and then took us to the farm adjacent to his house. He also showed his bird of paradise plant while watering it.

Kailash said they are doing something different with organic farming, growing medicinal herbs. They grow chamomile, tulsi (basil), peppermint and many other herbs. They are producing crops according to the demand in the market. They want to plant crops that will give them maximum income. He said if you plant crops like rice or wheat there are expenses of Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 initially and you don't need any investment after that apart from labour. Since there are no other inputs, he said that he never shies away from hard work.

Next we are with him in his lemongrass farm and the lemongrass is used with tea for aromatic purposes. It's oil is used for medicinal and cosmetics purposes. You can even use the leaves for green tea. Side by side he is growing organic veggies. He grows ladyfinger, cauliflower on the farm and these veggies are his cash crops. He is working towards maximum profits with minimum investments. 

Kailash in his Farm

He then walks towards his paddy fields. His produce is organically certified, which is in great demand with exporters. He also grows mustard, sugarcane along with wheat. All these are also organically certified and hence can be exported and sold easily all over the world. 

He next takes us to the part of his farm where they are preparing manure in a decomposer, with an attendant working on it with a wooden pole. Preparing the manure himself saves him money which would have been spent on fertilizers. You need to invest thousands on fertilizers and this free manure can be used over 30 to 40 acres of farmland, with investments of Rs 30-40. They also prepare their fungicides, pesticides and insecticides organically. To prepare the manure and these medicines you need to buy decomposer, which costs Rs 20. Along with it you need cow dung and jaggery is added so as to produce friendly bacteria. It is mixed well and in a few days your manure will be ready.

Kailash with packed products

To produce the fungicides, pesticides and insecticides, 20 liters of liquid is taken from the above. They place vanaspati leaves in this liquid and after the leaves have rotted in 6-7 days, we extract the liquid and the medicines are ready. These medicines will fight pests, insects and fungus. 

Kailash continues that the biggest issue he has is that the type of farming he does is labour intensive and in Corona pandemic there are labour shortages. He produces everything organically however weeds are something that Organic farming hasn't tackled, hence they need labour to manually pluck these weeds out of the soil. There are organic medicines but no organic weedicide.

Next issue that he faces is marketing. The herbs that he grows can't be sold at mandis, as the consumers will have to be educated about the benefits of these herbs in their food palette. He continues that out of 150, 50 members of their group are producing these medicinal herbs and are able to do reasonably good business with them. They all had to find the market for their products themselves. He finally requested the government to provide access to markets for their herbs so that all 150 of the members of their group can farm herbs. Please click here to see the video yourself.

Kailash Maithani

Kailash Maithani

Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand

Maithani's organics

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