1. Success Story

How This Technocrat Turned Farmer Helps Others Double Their Income Through Organic Farming

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Rakesh Mahanty a 30-year-old Engineering Graduate

Rakesh Mahanty, a 30-year-old Engineering Graduate, abandoned his high-paying career to start community farming and has helped more than 80 farmers associated with him in Jamshedpur's Patamda Block to double their income.

According to Mahanty, if one wishes to improve things, he must first become a model and set an example, and then people will naturally follow him. As a result, he created a model-farm with the support of 5 farmers who were already working with him on his own on a small piece of land, and then things improved and others began to adopt the concept on their own. More than 80 farmers are now associated with him, and they are generating a decent profit out of it.

Earlier in 2017, Mahanty launched his social enterprise, 'Brook N Bees,' which focuses on communal farming and collaborates with local farmers to cultivate organic food. Rakesh and other farmers exchange land, resources, knowledge, equipment, labour, and machines with one another, with the farmers who own land receiving a profit percentage and the landless receiving a monthly income of Rs.6000.

Furthermore, farmers do not have to worry about selling their produce or spending money on transportation to the market.

Mahanty recalled his journey from a technocrat to a farmer, stating that after graduating from BIT Bangalore in 2012, he was hired by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). But, over time, he recognised that he was not made for a 9 to 5 job and desired to work in the field of rural development for his own people in his village.

He left his job after four years and enrolled in the Management Programme at XLRI, Jamshedpur. He continued visiting his farms in Jamshedpur on a regular basis while pursuing his MBA and planned his career since he was very interested in farming innovations.

“While studying for my MBA, I became interested in farming and wanted to transform agriculture into a business, but as time went, I noticed that there were numerous difficulties that were tough to overcome. To address such concerns, I travelled extensively throughout India, meeting farmers and learning about their farming practises and the problems they faced,” Mahanty added. “Finally, I decided that local concerns must be addressed locally and introduced the idea of ‘Ecological Sustainable Farming,' under which problems are addressed from three perspectives: environmental, social, and economic.” Things are constructed contextually according to the needs of the local community under this approach.

Later, Mahanty realised that a market for his products was needed in his community, so he launched another initiative called the ‘Farm Participation Project,' in which workshops were held in farm fields for people from urban areas to learn about the local food system, how food products are produced, agro-ecology, and farmer livelihood.

“It was simply to bridge the gap between individuals living in urban and rural regions so that they might learn about one another. “The goal is to promote the local food system among the people who live nearby,” Mahanty explained.

Essentially, it is a communal farm where some people labour on their own property and others work as employees, he added.

 Mahanty stated, individuals who own land receive a percentage of their production, while those who do not own property receive a monthly income of Rs.6000. He stated that all decisions are made collaboratively by all 80 farmers.

They produce four types of rice, food crops, leafy non-leafy vegetables, millets, and a variety of other items.

According to local officials, Mahanty has become a sort of role model among local farmers, serving as a source of inspiration for many in the region.

“As an educated farmer, he has made a significant impact on others, serving as a role model for many other young people in the community. He has been practising hi-tech organic farming and promoting his products in his own way,” said Mithlesh Kumar Kalindi, District Horticulture Officer. Looking at him, many have begun cultivating high-value crops for profit, he continued.

According to Kalindi, Mahanty also runs a farmer's school where farmers receive free training in organic and modern farming practises. They also send farmers who want to learn more about integrated farming, he says.

Pawan Singh Sardar, a local farmer who previously relied on forest reserves, said the consistent revenue had significantly improved his financial condition.

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