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Engineer turned farmers find sustainable life style in farming

29-05-201929-05-2019 12:48:34 IST
Updated On 29-05-2019 12:48:32 ISTUpdated On 29-05-20192019-05-29T07:18:34.507Z29-05-2019 2019-05-29T07:17:52.241Z - 2019-05-29T07:18:32.495Z - 29-05-2019

Engineer turned farmers find sustainable life style in farming

Study Engineering in a reputed organisation.. get a degree... land in a plum job.... it would be enough for today's youth. But for some engineers, their degree doesn't matter, but only their thinking about sustainable lifestyle matters.

Different engineers who ventured into farming may have different views about farming, but the internal theme is about a sustainable lifestyle. 

Abhishek Dharma who first broached the idea to ditch engineering to make a career in the farming, the farmers of north Delhi's Palla village mocked him by calling 'Mr Stevia'. Abhishek started his farming with that plant, which is a natural sweetener. Dharma took up agriculture three years ago and did not let anybody bother him. 

However, it is not easy going for him to sell the produce. He found no takers to buy his bumper produce of Stevia, but he planned to grow at least four crops at a time; bok choy, drumsticks, radish and broccoli. He worked out an excel sheet to record daily crop prices so that he can benefit from the information that can predict the prices. 

After the diversification of his harvest, he found a market for his produce. 

Ajay Naik's story has a different aspect. He researched how to go better food without pesticides, albeit the few resources. He is a computer science engineer and believes in engineering to deliver sustainable solutions for agriculture that benefits both farmers and customers. He founded Letcetra Agritech, which can be termed as India's first indoor vertical hydroponics farm that uses nutrient-rich water rather than soil. 

According to Naik, his background in software technology has come in handy even in farming as he used IT to bring down the costs of farming. He believes in role engineering in the next green revolution.

Another Engineer Abhishek Singhania has another story to tell. He took up farming to produce cheap organic food. His father's illness prompted him to do so. Before venturing into farming, he spent some time on farms to see things first hand. Graduated from IIT in metallurgy, Singhania quit his big and bulk salary and a swanky office atmosphere for a sweaty farm near Kolkata. 

He has set up a farming firm Echoes, which works as a model farm for crops and practices and Singhania uses it to teach and train farmers about producing organic food with cost-cutting methods. 

He said, "Farmers should be able to make a sustainable income". His opinion is that that could be achieved with cost-cutting methods in farming. 

An electrical engineer Vishal finds more satisfaction in watching a plant growing rather than revelling in a party or in getting a fat pay cheque. 

He grows an array of crops including cherry tomatoes, capsicum, celery, lettuce and watermelons. He will sell his produce to online retailers. He opines that organic producing is important as well as increasing the farm produce. 

According to the World of Organic Agriculture 2018 report, India is home to 30% of total organic producers in the world but accounts for just 2.59% of the total organic cultivation area of 57.8 million hectares. The extent to which organic farming is being done in India need to be increased, opine the new generation of engineer farmers.

The sustainable lifestyle of the farming even attracted IBM executive Venkat Iyer, 53, who ventured into agriculture after quitting his job in 2003.  

Iyer bought 4.5 acres of land in Peth Village in Dahanu taluka about 100 km from Mumbai. He cultivated multiple crops and experimented on a smaller scale. After 16 years, the techie turned farmer has written a book titled 'Moong over Microchips Adventures of a Techie Turned Farmer'. 

He gave up his city life and pressures for goodies of the farming.

These engineers are finding it difficult to get profits from farming, but not impossible. Despite many hardships, the professionals are embracing their green ventures.

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