Approach farming with innovation, says the 45-year-old farmer P. Tamilselvi of Athani in Anthiyur Taluk, who succeeded in making value-added products and reaching out to her customers directly, thus, eliminating the role of middlemen.
Hailing from an agriculture family, Tamilselvi was married to A. Pugalendran (48), a member of Marutham Community Managed Resource Centre, Anthiyur. She started cultivating mushroom on 15 farm beds in 2011 that has grown to 600 farm beds now. Since marketing our products directly to the consumers give us more profit, I started selling mushroom packets to people on my own, she said.
As the demand for mushroom is good, she expanded her farm beds over the years and increased her earnings from 400 a day to 3,500 a day now. Learning that people need more value-added products, she started making coconut milk, banana chips, millet flour and porridge, pearl millet gruel and sold regularly to customers at Mettur in Salem district.
Soon, country-chicken farming found a place at her three-acre farm at Nagalur Kondayampalayam as she expanded her business operations. Eliminating middlemen ensures that all benefits goes to the farmers. But in our country, most growers dont have the desire to market their produce as they feel that once a crop is grown and harvested, their job is done, she said and added that by making a little extra effort and exploring different marketing avenues, farmers can also increase their income. But for this, a proactive attitude and the right kind of atmosphere is needed, she said.
Instead of selling a banana for 2 to traders, I sell a fruit for 8 to 10 to the customers directly. I realised that agriculture is a more profitable enterprise if we plan well and sell value-added products ourselves, she said.
\Ms. Tamilselvi follows integrated farming method and has a cattle farm, poultry unit, and flock of goats and ducks. Farm wastes, including mushroom by-products, are used as manure in her land. She picked up the skills from ICAR Krishi Vigyan Kendra (MYRADA-KVK), Gobichettipalayam.
Senior Scientist and Head of KVK P. Alagesan said that farmers can plan their activities in such a way that a regular income is generated, instead of just an annual one-time income from mono cropping. By being a direct supplier, farmers can reap full benefits, he added.