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An Awe Inspiring Journey of Two Brothers #ftb from a Small Village and Humble Beginnings to Reaching out to 616 Cities and Exporting to 34 Countries

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Satyajit and Ajinkya

They dare to live the life you have only dreamed of, they went forward and made their dreams come true. They were dreamers who made their desires for adventure a reality. Finding joy in their journey, is what you understand when we start talking to Satyajit and Ajinkya. Satyajit and Ajinkya are proud owners of a 30 acre Certified Organic Farm named “Two Brothers Organic Farms” in Bhodani, a small village in Maharashtra in the Indapur District. They were in conversation with the Editor of Agriculture World, Dr Lakshmi Unnithan at Farmer the Brand Programme, #ftb a Krishijagran Initiative on 19 July, at the Agriculture World platform.

Satyajit graduated in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune and then did an MBA with a specialisation in Marketing from the Department of Management Sciences, University of Pune. Ajinkya is a Computer Science Graduate and then did his MBA from Indira College Pune. After having worked and lived in the cities, they enjoyed their time whenever they happened to return home to their village. They climbed the corporate ladder to work for top MNCs like Citibank, DBS, HDFC and HSBC for nearly a decade. But they say they heard their calling from nature.

Desi Cows at the Two Brothers Organic Farms

Journey

Their 30 acre farm has different produce at different times of the year. At present they grow around 24 acres of seasonal crops in both seasona, in Kharif and Rabi, and fruit trees like Pomegranates, Banana, Drumsticks, Nimbu, Pulses like Tur Dal, Groundnut and Grains like Bajra. They have set aside 1.5 acres for Sitaphal, Ramphal, Guava and Mango. They don’t follow monoculture but follow a pattern of intercropping throughout their farms. The planting of Papayas, Moringa and Banana are a continuous process says Ajinkya. Produce from their farm is used to make various minimally processed traditional Indian foods with minimal or no use of machines and complex equipment. Almost all the products that they make in their 90-year old farm kitchen are handmade involving the rural farmer community in their village.

Ajinkya sharing the Organic Farming practices to the Visiting Farmers

A lot of hard work and patience has gone into the formation of the Brand. The struggle varied from getting the approval of their Parents and the society and it required a lot of courage. They initially started full time work in the farm in the year 2012.They travelled to procure seeds and started their planting in 2012-14. The first year was a year of losses and even their second, third and fourth year were losses .They used to harvest 1000 kg of products and it used to be sold for Rs4-5 per /kg. They had quality products but they had to sell it in APMC Mandi. Selling in Mandi was a consistent failure as they weren’t getting right returns, even though they sold premium products. They finally thought of carrying their papayas to people who sell fruits in handcarts and tried being there the whole day explaining the speciality of the products to the customers who came to buy fruits and used to let them sample the taste. Ajinkya says these papayas got noticed by a sales person in Star Bazar and thus they got recommended to be availablein Star Bazar Stores.  Two Brothers Organic Farms have come a long way, an inspiring journey of two to the presently employed 35-40 people all over the farm and minimal processing. A turnover starting from Rs 20,000 and growing to Rs 20-50 lakhs.

Papaya Plantation

Brand: Two Brothers Organic Farms

TBOF ships to more than 18 countries today from their village after their packing house in Pune was shut temporarily during the lockdown. Their products are available for purchase online, directly from their ecommerce platform and website as well as other online marketplaces like Amazon and few other curated online shops. 

Besides selling online they also directly sell at farmer markets in Mumbai and Pune. At these markets, customers may also purchase fresh produce from them - fruits, veggies as well as A2 dairy products like cheese, buttermilk and raw butter. The farmer markets have been discontinued now during the pandemic. TBOF also retails through selected partnerships - the Farmers' Store Mumbai, Swasthyam, Mumbai, the Bombay Sparrow, FarmerStory Organic and few others. TBOF was rated as India’s No 1 Organic farming brand amongst Indian and foreign brands in India by VOGUE in 2018. Also was rated as the No #1 idea that will change Indian agriculture in the year 2019.

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Packing unit at the Two Brothers Organic Farms

Consistent Care and Attention

A good quality product is the result of consistent care and attention starting from the availability of good seeds. Ajinkya says their initial days were involved only in a lot of travel to different parts of the country in search of good Heirloom seeds. They have tried procuring seeds from all corners of the country. Kagzi Nimbu seeds were collected from Karnataka, Papaya seeds were from Ahmed Nagar, Pomegranate plants are varieties of sapling called Bhagwan, Drumstick seeds from Solapur etc.

After care and fertilization also have taken the centre stage at TBOF. They have close to a hundred Desi cows and the Dung and Cow Urine has been extensively used throughout their farm. The care to the cows given at their farms is something to be learned. Panchagavya is sprayed every week or once in ten days to crops. Cow dung Slurry/Cow Urine /Butter milk is sprayed atleast once in two weeks to all saplings. (4-5 litres per sapling). Dashaparni is sprayed during new moon nights. A concoction of Butter milk and Haldi (max 2 percent) is made in 100 litres of water. A concoction of Ginger, Garlic and Mirchiis also sprayed to prevent any diseases.

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Community Initiatives

The Brothers also started a community not for profit initiative Organic We in Mumbai to help spread the awareness of organic food in urban areas and handhold organic farmers in rural areas and now work with over 1000 school students and 3 mainstream schools in Mumbai and Pune to develop community led Organic farming training modules for them. They also are collaborating with Bombay Canteen Chef Thomas Zacharius to propagate the goodness of good food and good health.

They have also initiated Farmers Market in Parsi colony, where they give free permission to farmers to sell their products. Their products are in demand among all class of people and famous personalities in India and abroad. Ajinkya says they have become truly humbled and they help many farmers to convert into Organic and provide free training .They have given training to 6000-700 farmers and some of them are a promise they say.

Ladoo making at the Processing Unit at the Farm

Being quizzed about Soils, they say they religiously follow Soil microbiologist from Rodelle Dr Elaine Ingam. They consider their helpers as their families and have given special privileges to all like insurance and 4-5 of them are share holders of the company called Two brothers Organic Farms. Within a span of 5 years they will have shares worth a crore, says Ajinkya, extremely happy about these intiatives.

Future Plans

The future plans lies in more intercropping and creating a vegetable food forest and passionately and genuinely getting connected with their own tribe and help create more food forests.

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