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This Organic Herbal Farmer Turned His Struggling Farm into A Profitable Business Making Over Rs 10 Cr/Year

Rakesh Chowdhary, a farmer from Rajasthan who was mocked for choosing medicinal farming over conventional farming, now owns Vinayak Herbal, an organic company that brings in crores every year.

Shruti Kandwal
Today, Rakesh has farms in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Gujarat.
Today, Rakesh has farms in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Gujarat.

Rakesh Chowdhary, a 40-year-old farmer from Rajpura village in the Nagaur district of Rajasthan, faced resistance from his friends and family when he shared his plan to pursue medicinal farming instead of traditional farming.

He had grown up in a farming family and had always known agriculture as a way of life. Even after leaving his village to pursue a BSc from Jaipur, he remained committed to his family's profession.

For many youths, leaving home to pursue education often means finding a job instead of returning to the family farm. But Rakesh was different. He was clear that he would return to the farm, and he did just that. He started planting herbal and medicinal plants and founded Vinayak Herbal, a company that today earns him Rs 10 crore annually.

Rakesh's success did not come without roadblocks. He faced opposition from his loved ones when he first shared his unconventional farming plans. However, he persevered and found inspiration when he learned about the State Medicinal Plant Board's scheme of contractual farming in 2003.

Today, Rakesh has farms in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Gujarat. He employs over 50,000 farmers to engage in organic medicinal farming, making him a successful entrepreneur and a role model for the youth who aspire to pursue agriculture as a career.

Overcoming Challenges to Pursue Medicinal Farming

Rakesh Chowdhary's success in medicinal farming was not an overnight achievement. He found the inspiration to pursue this new venture when he discovered the government's scheme of contractual farming of medicinal plants, which offered subsidies to farmers. However, he faced resistance from his family and community, who were hesitant to try something other than traditional farming.

Despite the challenges, Rakesh was determined to take advantage of the opportunity. He consulted with officers in the medicinal plant department, who guided him towards highly profitable medicinal plants. He sowed his first crop in 2004, using a portion of his family's farms to grow mulethi and flame lily.

However, the lack of resources and funding posed a significant obstacle for Rakesh. As a small farmer, he had nothing to mortgage and found it difficult to obtain loans. His wife had to take a loan by mortgaging her jewellery, and they also sold some of their cattle to raise funds for the initial investment.

Despite these challenges, Rakesh persisted, and his hard work paid off. Today, his company, Vinayak Herbal, has farms all over the country and employs thousands of farmers in organic medicinal farming. His success story serves as an inspiration to many, demonstrating that with determination and perseverance, anyone can overcome obstacles and achieve success.

He remembers the first crop as a disaster, realizing too late that Rajasthan's climate was hot and dry in the summers and extremely cold in the winters. His lack of research caused him to lose a lot of money, and he was inconsolable. Despite this setback, Rakesh refused to give up. He risked his only tractor and borrowed money from a private individual to plant aloe vera for his second crop.

Although he faced criticism from people who doubted him, he persevered, knowing that this venture had potential. He learned from his mistakes and researched more to understand the soil of the area. The second time around, he succeeded and harvested a bumper crop.

The lack of faith and support from his family weighed heavily on him. As a young, unsuccessful farmer with debt and a family to care for, his greatest motivation was the adversity he faced. He created a checklist before planting a crop that included considering the climate, planting supreme quality crops, and assessing market demand.

By 2005, Rakesh had cracked the code of farming in Rajasthan. He knew everything about his soil, the crop, and the climate requirements. His next challenge was finding customers. In 2006, he found his first customer who bought his aloe vera for Rs 1.5 per kg.

Rakesh faced several hurdles in his initial years of farming. However, with determination and hard work, he established his own firm, Vinayak Herbal, in 2017. Rakesh has successfully collaborated with farmers across the country to grow medicinal plants, which he ships to pharma companies and dealers.

Establishing the Business

Rakesh Narayan faced many obstacles in establishing his business. However, he persisted, and when he received his first order, it felt like a ray of hope. He recognized the potential of medicinal farming and collaborated with farmers across the country, who now grow crops that suit their climate and soil. His firm, Vinayak Herbal, has grown over 120 varieties of medicinal plants and ships them across the country.

The Need for More Young Farmers

Rakesh believes that more young people should take up farming as a profession. He has noticed that the newest generation of children from farming families tends to leave the profession, with only 30% of them turning towards agriculture. He attributes this to the lack of organization in the sector and the repeated losses that farmers face. To counter this, he has taken it upon himself to prove how profitable farming can be with the right knowledge, people and willpower to struggle through hard times.

With proper planning, market orientation, and fair prices, the scenario can change. It is becoming increasingly necessary as, otherwise, there will be farms but no farmers to work on them. Rakesh Narayan is setting an example for young people to take up farming, and with his efforts, the sector can be transformed into a profitable one.

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