Date Farming Changed The Vidarbha Farmer’s Life
A poor farmer’s son who had to live in an orphanage has become one of the most successful farmers in the drought-prone Vidarbha region and wants others to follow his footsteps and end farmer suicides.
What is unusual about Thangavel’s farm is that he doesn’t grow crops like soyabean, paddy, cotton or sugarcane, usually grown by Vidarbha farmers, but you can see 130 organically grown date trees loaded with at least 25 kg to 30 kg of dates on each one of them.
“One has to think out of the box. It is time that Vidarbha farmers come out of their usual methods of farming and stop growing the traditional crops, which is not earning them enough. There is huge potential in our Vidarbha land and the high temperature is a boon only if we grow right kind of crops,” says Thangavel.
Thangavel would buy a piece of land whenever he would save some money. He also continued his education and would work on the farm once he finished his office work and studies. Slowly, people knew him for the fresh vegetables in his farm. However, Thangavel was also not unaffected from the problems that a Vidarbha farmer faces.
He then bought 130 tissue culture date plants and planted them in his 2-acre land. The cost per plant at that time was Rs 6,000, so it was an investment with a huge risk.
However, within 3 years the plants bore fruit and in the fourth year, Thangavel harvested nearly 25 kg- 30 kg of dates from each tree. The dates were sold for Rs. 300 per kg, giving him a huge profit, though marketing the product was also not an easy task initially.
At present, Thangavel owns 25 acres of land. He has planted 300 new date plants of six new varieties in another four acres. Each tree now produces almost 100 kg of dates. Thangavel has reduced the price to Rs. 200 per kg for local customers.
In winter, Thangavel opens his farm for visitors to pick their own strawberries.