Bundelkhand farmer makes a multimillion dollar business from his special vermicompost
Repeated crop failure forced him to abandon farming. An illiterate, Gyasi Ahirwar had no means for survival. He learnt techniques to make organic manure compost. Within a year, he set up a plant to earn millions and also shared his indigenous technique with the agriculturists of Italy and Germany. His story is truly a rag to riches tale. His story is the transformation of a small time farmer to a multi-millionaire. A resident of Aalapur village, some 20 km from Lalitpur district headquarters in parched Bundelkhand, Ahirwar is now the biggest supplier of organic manure compost in the region.
Farmers from different parts of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan pay him to advance for the supply of high-quality compost he develops in his plant, spread in acres of land. With the expansion of his business, he bought extra land to restart farming. Today he has 20 acres of land. He grows organic vegetables and other crops to earn more profit. He has made a place for his organic products in the country. His organically grown vegetables are in high demand in Delhi, Uttarakhand, UP and Madhya Pradesh. A few chains of hotels have also tied up with this farmer for regular supplies of organic vegetables grown in his farmhouse.
“They are bigger in size and contain the original flavour, sweetness and other natural ingredients which are usually killed when we use chemical fertilisers and pesticides to grow vegetable and crop,” claims Ahirwar. But for Ahirwar, the journey was not that easy. Farming is a difficult proposition in parched Bundelkhand, which is the most backwards area of Uttar Pradesh. But, unfortunately, 80 per cent of the total population in the region depends on farming due to lack of industries and job avenues.
Drinking water is scarce and irrigation facilities are absent in the region. Majority of the farmers have to depend on the rain God to cultivate their lands. Natural calamities and repeated crop failures have made Bundelkhand earn the notoriety of reporting a maximum number of farmers committing suicides in the past one decade. Ahirwar was no different. “I took a loan to cultivate the crop. But for three consecutive years crop failed me. I didn’t know what to do. I dropped the idea to continue with farming. But I was illiterate to get a job. Survival of my family was the biggest question and on top of that money-lenders were after my life to return their dues and pay up interest,” recalls 60-year-old Ahirwar horror of his days of struggle.
“But did I not give up. I took training at different places in making vermicompost. I returned to my land and village again. Dug a big hole and bought about 20 kgs of earthworms. We had animals so cow dung was not a problem. Organic wastes are aplenty in villages. Within three months, I developed high-quality organic manure compost,” recalls he. First, his family members questioned his new venture. They had a pertinent question. Who will buy his organic fertiliser when farming was on the downslide in the entire region?
By visiting many places in different parts of Uttar Pradesh, Gyasi Ahirwar had already set his own marketing plans. He started selling indigenously-developed organic fertiliser to farmers outside Bundelkhand at a price lower than the ones available in the market. Within three months, he started getting repeated and new orders. But to match new orders, he had to increase his production. Emboldened by his success, he took a loan of Rs 10 lakhs from a bank with great difficulty to set up an organic fertiliser plant. The production was increased manifold. Today, he supplies organic compost to all major government agencies, big, small farmers and NGOs promoting vermicompost to check indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
Ahiwar claims that his organic manure has all the natural ingredients to act as pesticides. “Those who use it do not need to spray pesticides on their crops. My compost gives them protection from various diseases,” claims he. Today, Ahirwar’s annual turn of his high-quality organic manure is no less than Rs 5 crore. Farmers from about 14 districts of Madhya Pradesh are his regular clients. “People have lost the taste of naturally-grown vegetables and crops which used to be part of our daily palate. I make an effort to grow them on my 20 acres farm-house to bring back that taste. I encourage others to go for traditional farming and dissuade the indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides which not only kill natural flavours in the crop they grow but also make them lose fertility of their soil,” he adds.
Besides working in his organic fertiliser plant and farm-house, Ahirwar also trains farmers and village youths in making organic manure compost. For the 15-day certification training, he charges only Rs 500.
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