Mrinal and Lakshya Dabas from Delhi distribute fresh organic vegetables to 5000 families through ‘Organic Acres’.
After writing many studies, if someone wants to get involved in farming, many people find it strange. Because, leaving the job and coming to farming, people still call it a loss deal. However, Mrinal Dabas, 30, and his brother, 27-year-old Lakshya Dabas, who live in Jat Khor village in Delhi, have proved that it is a profitable deal if cultivated the right ways.
Mrinal and Lakshya, coming from a peasant family, have watched farming since childhood. But, I never thought that both of them would make farming their business. Mrinal did engineering and also worked as a research intern at DRDO. At the same time, Lakshya has a Masters degree in Environment and Development. But, today, both of them are moving forward in the field of ‘agro-tourism by doing organic farming.
He said that he has a total of 28 acres of land. He grows crops like organic fruits, vegetables, rice, wheat, millet, and pulses on this land. But he has made his farming model such that he keeps getting produce from his fields throughout the year. Also, he has started agro-tourism on his farms.
You can book trips with their family or friends on their farms. During this trip, you will not only get a closer look at nature, but you can also enjoy the food grown, thereby biological methods. Apart from this, they also conduct workshops on organic farming and its related subjects for the people.
Ordinary farms made ‘organic acres‘
Lakshya says, “By the way, most of the people in my family are employed. But despite all this, all are connected with farming. Earlier, we all used to grow crops only for our family. But since both of us brothers have taken charge of farming, now we have started preparing produce for the market. ”
Lakshya and Mrinal have turned themselves towards organic farming. His farm is today known as ‘Organic Acre’. Their produce is reaching over 5000 families in Delhi and adjoining areas. People come to their fields by buying vegetables and other things and take them. Also, they have an online portal.
Lakshya handles mostly farming related things, and Mrinal oversees marketing. Mrinal says, “Unless the farmers themselves take the responsibility of marketing their products, they will not be able to grow.” Therefore, on the one hand, we paid attention to our farming methods. On the other hand, we also worked on establishing our identity in the market. It has got the full support of the family. ”
Lakshya says that they follow different methods of organic farming. First of all, all the seasonal vegetables that are grown here are planted systematically.
“Like during the okra season, we do several batches of okra in different beds at intervals of about 15 days each. So that when the harvest starts, we have the ladyfingers for a long time. We are not among those who sell the produce in the market at one go. Our vegetables and other products go directly to the customers. Apart from this, we also supply to some stores and some hotels, ”he added. Similarly, they also adopt various methods to maintain the fertility of the land.
He said that instead of using any chemical, he uses organic manure and nutrition. Also, they always pay attention to ‘crop rotation’. For example, if they have planted such a crop in a field that takes more nitrogen, they plant a crop with it, giving nitrogen to the land. For example, you can plant cowpea and cowpea pods with maize. There are 10 to 15 types of vegetables in their fields in every season. He earns about four lakh rupees a month just by cultivating vegetables.
Apart from vegetables, he also plants crops like wheat, rice, lentils, mustard. After harvesting all these crops, they process themselves on their own fields. Mrinal said that he has mills installed on his fields. The process and pack different types of flour, pulses from wheat, and make mustard oil and cake. He is delivering all these products directly to the customers. Apart from this, they have also kept some animals used for manure in cow dung fields and from their milk, they prepare pure desi ghee.
After organic farming, Lakshya and Mrinal started agro-tourism, taking their farming a step further. One can take a tour of their fields or look for a ‘farm stay’. During the farm stay, people get an opportunity to be close to nature. Still, they also do various activities for the people, such as plucking vegetables from the fields, doing yoga and discussions etc. Whoever comes here goes after learning something.
Neepa Verma, who visits ‘Organic Acre’, says that her daughter is still very young and her world has been reduced to TV-phone due to the Corona epidemic. So she wanted to take him to someplace close to nature.
He said, “When I searched such a place around Delhi, I came to know about organic acres. The best thing was that only ten people could come to visit him at one time. So there was no security problem either. Going there, my daughter and I were very relieved. Especially that my girl got to see so much greenery in a city like Delhi. From the fields to the food they cooked, everything was perfect. ”
People who come here buy green vegetables and other organic products. Agnihotri, the idol of Gurugram, says that the taste of the fruits and vegetables grown here is very different and good from other fruits and vegetables in the market.
Lakshya further states, “If a family wants to come with their children on our farm, then a variety of games are planned for them as well. ‘Pottery making session’ is also kept for the people. In which everyone, from children to elders, can participate. For this, you have to make a booking on our website. If anyone wants to learn organic farming, we also do training and workshops for them to enrol. ”
Lakshya says, “We have also suffered losses in the beginning but wanted to do something different, and hence we never backed down. We work day and night on everything in our fields. From farming to agro-tourism, I try something new everywhere. This work requires more hard work than money because there is no ‘working time’ in farming. You may have to work at night also; sometimes you can go for the whole day. ”
It is a result of the efforts and hard work of Mrinal that today they have been able to take a turnover of about 70 lakh rupees annually from their fields. He says, “People see this number one, and they think there is a lot of money in organic farming.” but it’s not like that. To earn money from farming, you have to understand farming very closely and mould yourself according to the market demand. Therefore, first, understand the hard work behind farming and then move forward in this field. Because if you are determined and you are ready to learn, then nothing is better than this. ”
He has trained over 100 farmers so far and wants to continue this process even further. Apart from this, he plans to set up a ‘biogas plant’ in his fields and at the same time, he is also working on his mobile application so that he can connect directly with farmers and customers.