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- Studied From IIT, Leaving 22 Lakh Jobs, Farming, Farmers Connected With These Are Earning 20 Thousand Months
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new Delhi30 minutes agoAuthor: Poonam Kaushal
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Pooja Bharti, a resident of Nalanda district of Bihar, is currently doing organic farming in Odisha.
- Together Manish and Pooja have opened ten such centers in Odisha, where farmers get training in organic farming.
- Before Corona, 21 people worked with them, now a team of 14 people are working with Pooja
Pooja, a passout from IIT, was doing a fantastic job at the Indian state-run GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited). But whenever he remembers his village, his heart gets depressed. Pooja Bharati, originally from Biharsharif in Nalanda district, was a promising student. In 2005, he passed the IIT entrance exam and in 2009, after graduating in mechanical engineering, he got his job in GAIL. Pooja had a big house in the village. There were fields, there were gardens. He got money in a city job, but not relaxed.
This was the reason that whenever she got a chance to get closer to nature while in a job, she would go. Pooja’s batchmate at IIT, Manish returned to Bihar and started a farming-related startup instead of working after being passed out. Manish was unhappy with the unemployment in the village and wanted to do something for the people of the village. Whenever Pooja got a chance, she would talk to Manish about organic farming. He also visited many villages where farmers were doing organic farming.
Pooja says, ‘Manish and I used to talk about farming. I realized that there is a need in the agricultural sector for people who do farming with thought, because agriculture is mostly associated with people who do not have jobs or their own businesses. They do farming because there is no other option. She says, ‘I left the job in 2015 and then learned about organic farming for the next one year. Deepak Sachde was my guru, he died in October last year. After meeting him, my faith in organic farming deepened and I felt that this is the right way of farming. ‘
Pooja says that organic farming is not easy and that is why it is not popular among the common farmers, because it is very hard work.
Pooja says, in 2016 we started Back to Village. Its purpose is not just to do organic farming, but to promote rural lifestyle. We decided that we have to go to the village and not to the city and create employment opportunities there. Pooja and Manish first started work in Odisha. In the beginning, only they were together. For a year and a half, he used to go to the village and understand the problems being faced by the farmers. Then, after taking them into consideration, we extract the solution. Gradually, his team grew and work also increased.
Pooja explains, ‘We don’t act like a corporate. Everyone is equal in our team. There are also those who are not in tenth pass. But his rank is above good education. We do not work for farmers, but work with farmers. ‘
What is back to village model
His company runs Advanced Agricultural Centers in Back to Village villages. They currently have ten centers operating in Odisha. Pooja says that we train the progressive farmer of the village and start a small office and a farm of about two acres there. We grow the same crops organically in our farm, which are usually grown by the farmers there. We show farmers by doing organic farming near them. When farmers see that low spending is generating better yields, they are also motivated.
Pooja says that in 2016 we started Back to Village. Its purpose is not just to do organic farming, but to promote rural lifestyle.
Pooja says, “Organic products are usually expensive in the market. Organic farming people ask for prices between one and a half to two times. This also makes the message go wrong. Expenses in organic farming should be reduced as compost and pasticides prepare themselves. Initially, there is more expenditure on labor, but later it also starts to decrease. Organic cultivators should be sold at an equal rate.
Pooja says that one of the reasons for the high rate of organic products in the market is that their demand is high and supply is low. He says, ‘The elite class demands organic products. This is why the rate is high, because demand is high and supply is low. The products of organic farming farmers are sold in half an hour in the haat, while the remaining farmers take four-five hours. ‘
According to Pooja, the farmers associated with him easily earn fifteen to twenty thousand rupees a month. Compost, manure and pesticide are all being made on the same farm, giving additional benefits to farmers.
What are the challenges
According to Pooja, the biggest challenge in organic farming is that the things related to it are not easily available in the market. She says, ‘If you do chemical farming, then everything related to it is available in the market. But neither manure nor compost is available for this. All this has to be made. Organic farming is not easy and that is why it is not popular among the common farmers, because it is very hard work. She says that we are working on this model how to solve this problem so that organic farming can be made easier.
Happy to earn less than before
Pooja says that the cost of organic farming should be reduced, as compost and pasticides are prepared by themselves.
Pooja says, ‘My aim was to cultivate and teach. When I left the job, my package was around 22 lakhs. If I had been in a job, now my salary would have been close to 33 lakhs a year. Obviously, I am not earning so much by farming, but am much happier and healthier than before. ‘
She says, ‘I was quite clear that there would not be much money in farming. But what I have earned here cannot be counted only in money. There is a lot of peace of mind here, health is better, stress is not there. This is my real earning. I am getting five L-Love, Laugh, Livelihood, Learning and Living, all in one place in my life. I am getting good food, good air, good water and peace of mind. I am away from diseases. ‘
Pooja’s company is doing well and she plans to move to Bihar and other states in future. Pooja says, “We can earn a lot if the business model is developed. But our aim is to make the village more self-sufficient than money. Build villages that can meet their needs on their own and do not depend on government subsidies. Our journey so far suggests that we are on the right track.