1. Success Story

This Man is Earning Lakhs through Pearl Farming: Provides Training to Farmers

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Pearl farming

Although farmers in Patna and the surrounding Bihar regions tend to grow pulses, maize, cereals and rice, a 28-year-old man in the area has decided to turn in a different direction. Nitil Bhardwaj from Murera Village, Champaran district, is earning lakhs through pearl farming. 

Nitil belongs to a traditional farmer family, but worked for a multinational company in Delhi.

He started working as a computer expert in early 2017, earning 30,000 rupees a month. 

Pearl Farming was his father’s idea 

Nitil’s father came across an article on pearl cultivation and learned how it could turn into a profitable business. He shared this idea with Nitil and then the two decided to take it seriously. 

Nitil signed up for a training course in Madhya Pradesh at Bomoria Pearl Farm, and worked with the management there for several months. Nitil signed up for training at Bomoria Pearl Farm in Madhya Pradesh and worked with management there for several months. He initiated the "Bhardwaj Pearl Farm and Training Center" to hire six migrant workers who were unemployed during the COVID19 shutdown. 

Potential to earn lakhs 

Nitil said attending training at the pearl farm convinced him that a full-time job wouldn't help him earn a decent income to support his family. He said “I did not want to enter mainstream farming, and hence decided to try this new alternative. In 2018, I quit my job. In my village, I decided to dig a pond on one acre of my family’s land by seeking government subsidies provided for pearl farming.” 

Nitil doing pearl farming at home

He told that he planted 400 oysters in the pond in 2019. Ideally, an acre of a pond can accommodate around 25,000 to 30,000 oysters. But I started small. He grew oysters for 8-10 months and invested Rs.25000 from which he earned Rs.75000. 

Nitil explains “Each oyster demands an investment of around Rs.40. One oyster can produce two pearls, and each of them sells at an average cost of Rs.120. The oysters can remain planted for months at stretch — which helps improve their quality. A good quality pearl can fetch Rs.200 for single piece. But I decided to harvest them at minimum incubation and scale-up immediately.” 

In 2020, he planted about 25,000 pearls, from which he hopes to earn 30 lakh rupees. So far, he has earned 3.6 lakh rupees and said that the income will keep pouring until October 2021. Additionally, Nitil has been using ponds to raise fish through aquaculture. He adds “I breed fish that are vegetarian and do not harm the oysters. In one season alone, I earn Rs.2.5 lakh from the fish business.”  

 He inspired many others 

Seeing Nitil’s success other farmers got inspired from him. The Fisheries Department also took note of his efforts.  Surya Prakash Ram, a district fisheries officer, said: “The pearl farming program has prompted farmers to think beyond conventional practices and demonstrated solutions to multiply income.”  He said,  the department is collaborating with Nitin to train other farmers as well.

A way to be close to home and earn a decent living 

Nitil told that in one batch he is training 15 farmers. “The training is conducted for a small fee and lasts two days. If pursued with discipline, a farmer can earn lakhs from pearl farming,” he adds.  Nitil has also employed six migrants who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 lockdown and were also forced to return home apart from training the farmers.  

Prabhu Yadav is one of the immigrants who works at Nitil's pearl farm and earns 7,000 rupees a month. “I used to work as a painter in Srinagar and returned in October 2020. Nitil offered me a job to help me in the crisis. The work is satisfying as I don’t spend on rent and other expenses. I can live with the family and no longer have to be away from them to earn livelihood,” he adds. 

Nitil said "The health of the oysters must be checked every 15 days. It requires healthy food and nutrition. The water temperature must be adequate at all times. If the oyster dies, it must be removed immediately to save other oysters and prevent the spread of infection, "he explained. 

Nitil currently sells pearls to traders in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. They also export products to China and Japan. 

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