1. Success Story

Man quits IT job to start Aquaponics Company to help farmers double their incomes

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Fish Faming

Synopsis: Rohit started farming in Jalandhar in 2018, and mainly uses water containing fish waste as manure to cultivate a variety of fruits and vegetables. 

The corporate grind may help bring in cash, but sticking true to nature is crucial for others. Rohit Gupta (28)left his software engineering work to take up farming. He had never regretted the decision to leave his IT career, he says, adding that He's proud to be part of the agricultural system and to support farmers who are the true heroes of the country. Per year, Rohit sells 25 tons of seafood, rising over 200 kg of vegetables a week. 

The engineer first learned from his uncle, Commander Raman Kumar Agarwal (retd), about aquaponics while still employed at an IT firm in Mumbai. I had little knowledge of sustainable farming systems, such as aquaponics, which enable one to use only one system to breed fish and grow vegetables. My uncle told me about it, and said it could also make a decent income,' Rohit tells The Better India. 

To read more about aquaponics, he visited numerous research centres. He left his job in Mumbai once he acquired enough confidence to start a farm, and moved to his native town in Punjab in 2018. 

Rohit opened Aarpun Farms in Lambra village in Jalandhar district, with the aid of his uncle and cousin, Saurabh Agrawal. The farm's position, which stretches over 2.25 acres, was determined to take into account organizational and market benefits, providing both farmers and customers with convenient and fast access. 

Rohit says that his uncle, a senior security officer with extensive managerial and tactical experience, has always urged young people to start farming in Jalandhar. In Mumbai, Saurabh also partnered with numerous start-ups and NGOs to provide relief to local communities and farmers in the drought-hit regions of Maharashtra. That's how they have chosen to open Aarpun Farms. 

Aquaponics provides a longer shelf life 

Rohit cultivates rare green leafy vegetables on his plantation, such as spinach, iceberg lettuce, mint, broccoli and romaine lettuce. There are also beetroots, cauliflowers and capsicums cultivated on the estate. Water containing fish waste is the only fertilizer added to the fruits and vegetables. 

He claims the shelf-life of the items is a big advantage of aquaponics. Goods last three to four times longer than those produced by usual cultivation. Output of aquaponics is 10 times greater than traditional farming, he explains, adding, "I have 1,000 tomato plants on the field, and I get eight to nine kilograms of tomatoes from a single plant. So, basically, from the fruit of one plant, I get about Rs 400." 

Fish waste is converted into nitrite, which is then refined on the field into nitrates. This nitrates help plants grow faster under regular cultivation than they would. Once fish waste is collected, it is purified and mixed with the water that we use for the plants. This is the single source of all the nutrients it takes for the plant to receive. We apply new water from the outside to the fish tank, as the water level falls he says. Rohit says that on his farm there are about 50,000 rohu and murrel trout. “The approximate price of one fish shall be Rs 130. So, from the 100-square meters of the fish pond, we get over Rs 21 lakh. As it is new and tastes fine, there is more desire for our seafood. On our farm, there are no salt-water trout” he says. The fish is sold to nearby vendors and stalls selling fast food.  

Helping farmers to raise more 

Aarpun Farms provides farmers with free lessons on aquaponic methods to help raise their profits. Over 15 farmers from various parts of India visited the farm before the COVID-19 pandemic to learn about this technique. 

In countries such as Singapore, the US, and Israel, the aquaponic model is popular, but not so much in India. A lot of farmers do not have enough knowledge about it here. In contrast to conventional cultivation, the method requires around 90 per cent less water. Since it is filtered over and over, the water is rarely affected. We want to help local farmers earn a decent income from aquaponic cultivation,” Rohit says. 

Aarpun Farms also plans to develop similar projects across the city and raise awareness of aquaponics among individuals. 

It is possible to contact Aarpun Farms here: 83605 97323 

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