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How a fruit grower inspired his entire district to grow fruits

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Atul with growing plants

Atul Tripathi, fruits grower from UP was  interviewed in a group interview online by Jyoti Sharma on the FTB platform. He has inspired other farmers with his  hard-work and dedication. Atul Tripathi uses  7 acres for gardening, 22 acre for peas. He also has 6,000 papaya trees of Taiwanese red lady 786 varieties, bananas 3500 trees all of which  are planted over 7 acres. The Taiwanese melon,  good cash crops are grown under the papaya trees as part of intercropping

His papaya trees are now 8-9 months old and bearing ripe fruits which are being supplied to the market. His bananas have been recently harvested. Over 10-12 acres he does intercropping  of melons and papaya, we are going to have a good harvest this year he said, he shows us on his video how the fruits are growing. He claims that the papaya have flowered very well. 

He has promoted growth of fruits in his district and now 1,000 hectares of land is under papaya cultivation and  600 hectares under banana cultivation. He provides seeds and  seedlings to farmers. He arranges, guidance for them about farming  like what manure, fertilizers, pesticides they will need and pickup for sale in market.

Harvested papayas

He says he focuses on the quality of the produce they deliver and their products are genuine. All farmers interested in working with them or needing education are invited to visit their farms to show and compare how the farm work is done, the technologies in use. He believes in intercropping and uses latest technologies. These visiting farmers then talk to other people about what they have seen and learnt here and more people come to know about them. Most of the farmers who come here like what they see. 

He has Facebook pages and groups with tens of thousands of members. He said that he has started a group on organic agriculture and within 3 months he has 57,000 members in the group. So, a large number of prospective customers or collaborators come to know about them through the online medium. He plans to maintain the quality of the products that they provide.  

Atul with his papayas

They provide seedlings through the Jain company, he claims that it is the biggest agro company in India and these plants grow and give results in 8-9 months. The banana seedlings that their competitors supply grow and give result in 14-16 months while Tripathi farms guarantee that the process will be complete in 9-12 months. The farmers will be at loss if they don't buy our seedlings.

They also work on seeds for peas and said that peas are farmed in the district over thousands of acres, and they sell the seeds at Rs 2000-3000 per quintal. It's expensive from the normal standards but we provide quality seeds. There is a lot of competition in providing the peas seeds here. We make every effort to make sure that the seeds we provide are pure and there should not be a single bad seed. They buy original seeds to produce good quality seeds. They hire labour to filter out bad seeds, they do chanai (filtration), grading so that if any bad seed is still there after manual effort, the machines will filter them out. 

They had an office at state level and now have one at the district level. We have made farmers businessmen whom they buy or sell to and give commission. He said you will see uniform plants on using their seeds. 

When asked what motivated him to get into farming, Atul said farming and technical farming is his childhood hobby. He said most of the people around here grow wheat and pearl millet. He joined farming formally in 2016 and wanted to do something new and different. He started by planting banana trees but the leaves dried out in summer and the flowering did not happen correctly. He still didn't leave hope and in winter the soil was covered with frost sheet. He kept working hard and today he has sold his harvest for about Rs 15 Lacs, from his 7 acres of land.

Out of his total land  2 acres have drip irrigation facility where they grow papaya and for the rest the irrigation is done through traditional methods.

He has been advising a group of 200 farmers farming over 1,000 acres of land. This group is managed through Whatsapp and Atul is the administrator spending hours every day reading and replying the messages that he gets. In case physical presence is required he travels to the farms of needy farmers. He supports the farmers by directing their products to the right market. These farmers are earning good incomes.

He takes us to his banana farm and gives a message to banana cultivators. He said bananas have been harvested from about 90-95 percent of the total trees. He shows us the 12 feet and over sized trees and flowering has already started on them. Usually the flowering will take place in July-August, however the flowering here has taken place in March-April. Currently he is able to sell bananas at Rs 12, and around navaratri the price may increase to Rs 15, which is a good price. He was the first farmer in his region to farm bananas, but today following his example now bananas are farmed over hundreds of acres of land every year. Before he started farming and advising farmers, bananas were not produced successfully in the region. He suggests that farmers must focus and work hard and should have the correct knowledge. For instance he suggested that from experience he has learnt that July-August is the best time to plant bananas. You'll get flowering  in March-April and get good prices than if you get flowering in December-January when the bananas are low in demand hence don't fetch good prices. March to June bananas always get good prices. Bananas are brought from Sholapur, Maharashtra at Rs 15 per Kg and then after adding Rs 2 per Kg of transportation, cost Rs 17. While his locally grown bananas cost around R 14 per Kg hence making his bananas more profitable.

Every day he gets calls from business men willing to pay in advance and collect bananas from his farm. Although he has 3500 trees, for calculation purposes they consider 3,000 trees and per tree bunches weigh up to 50 Kgs, for calculation purposes they count 30Kgs. Thus they have 900 quintals of bananas to sell each year and if you set the base price as low as Rs 10 we are able to earn 9 Lakhs per annum from the farm selling bananas. Additionally with intercropping they grow potatoes and onions providing additional income. All these are rough estimates.

On being asked about what would he suggest his contemporaries or youngsters trying to build a brand like himself  he said, last year when lockdown was initiated they had 15 acres of land with Taiwanese melon growing and ripening, this was a difficult situation for him. He meant you may face difficulties but you must not give up. He said selling 10 melons will get you Rs 100, while selling a Kg of seeds will get you Rs 8,000-10,000. You can get a kg of seeds from 8-10 melons. He has supplied 80-90 Kgs of seeds to district this year. He meant you must find what will sell, then grow it at the correct time and make profit. Please click here to see the group interview video.

Atul Tripathi

Atul Tripathi

Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh

Atul Tripathi's fruits

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