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Diversifying Agriculture: Vishal Male's Journey to Prosperity with Flower, Guava, and Mango Farming

Vishal Male's inspiring journey into profitable flower, guava, and mango farming not only helped him earn more money but also contributed to making agriculture more sustainable.

Shivam Dwivedi
Vishal Male's Journey to Prosperity with Flower, Guava, and Mango Farming
Vishal Male's Journey to Prosperity with Flower, Guava, and Mango Farming

For over three decades, Ausa Taluka in Maharashtra's Latur district has grappled with severe drought conditions, where households with more pipes had a better chance of securing water from tankers, reflecting the relentless struggle for water access. This scarcity compelled local farmers to adhere to seasonal crops and mono-cropping, hesitant to explore more sustainable and resilient practices like natural farming and agroforestry due to a mix of limited knowledge and risk aversion. A transformative initiative has empowered farmers with knowledge and resources for profitable natural farming. Vishal Male, a marginal farmer from Ausa Taluka, has benefited from this initiative, receiving training and support to cultivate guava and mango trees. He has seen a significant increase in profits from the same land area.

“I got 600 guava trees and 50 mango trees from them and I was taught how to make natural inputs from The Art of Living,” shares Vishal Male, “and now I earn around 3 lakhs every year just from my guava trees in just 1.25 acres of, Vishal shares, ' I was not very keen in the beginning because I thought it takes time before the yield gets better but I took the step to plant Guava and mango and now I feel it was the best decision,” shares Vishal.

Vishal Male's Transition from Mono-Cropping to Multi-Cropping

26-year-old Vishal lives in a family of seven members. He has seen farmers in his area take only seasonal crops due to climate uncertainties and long-standing drought, and those farmers who do have access to water tend to grow sugarcane as it has high demand “and other farmers suffer because of inefficient water utilization.”

Vishal says, 'Although my flower business is open all year, here in my village, farmers only grow seasonal crops, and the rest of the time they don’t have much work.'

“My situation has changed,” Vishal shares, who has a thriving flower business, “I have started to think about giving my younger brother a better education because of the extra money I earn now. I have taken loans in the past but after extra income, there won't be any need for loans in the future,' adds Vishal.

Balaji Male, Vishal’s father says, “It has been 2 years since we have guava and mango trees on our farm. Before that, since our great-grandfather, we have just been doing flower farming. Every farmer should look into doing new things. “

He also shared that these trees unexpectedly don't require much maintenance and very little investment “so any farmer like me can easily grow it and enjoy the benefits,” shares Balaji.

The Art of Living natural farming trainers educated Vishal on how to make inputs at home, how to grow guava, how to maintain them, its water requirements, and how guava can be profitable and effective. The trainers showed him successful working models to build trust. He was taught techniques to increase the microbial quantity and carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus through the use of different natural inputs.

Mango orchard of Vishal Male
Mango orchard of Vishal Male

The training made Male realize that he could make an additional Rs. 2-3 lakhs income with effective utilization of the land. His family has been traditionally doing only flower farming for years, so the training allowed him to diversify profitably. He was made aware that the soil has many nutritional requirements and diverse cropping helps with meeting these requirements. 

Research today points to the shortcomings of mono-cropping like soil erosion, damaged soil fertility, groundwater contamination, and water wastage, among others. But there is a clear shift and inclination among farmers to move to multi-cropping, natural farming, and agroforestry models, which is much like going back to our roots, as these practices were in place in ancient India, but with the advent of chemical-based agriculture, got lost in time, which are seeing a happy revival now.

“I will request all farmers to drop their dependency on one crop. Especially here in Ausa, farmers only grow monsoon crops. Agroforestry will enable us to drop dependency and make farmers more self-sustainable. These 3 lakhs that I earn extra have changed my lifestyle and I can now think better for my family.” shares Vishal.

Not just in terms of training farmers in using natural inputs and multiple crop cultivation, but The Art of Living, under its JalTara project has undertaken essential work of building recharge structures to make water available for irrigation and agriculture in Maharashtra. The Art of Living is also training thousands of farmers in natural farming, on more than 1.3 million hectares in Maharashtra, under a recently signed MOU with the Government of Maharashtra.

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