New Delhi: Rajeev Bhaskar, a prosperous agripreneur, could not have foreseen that his prior role as a sales and marketing team member at VNR Seeds would propel him into the realms of farming and entrepreneurship. His tenure at the seed company provided him with the opportunity to engage with farmers across various regions of India, igniting his passion for agriculture. Through these interactions, Rajeev acquired knowledge about the cultivation of Thai guava and its unique variety.
In 2017, Rajeev took a bold step by resigning from his position to embark on the cultivation of Thai guavas on a five-acre rented plot in Panchkula, Haryana. Employing residue-free farming techniques, he utilized biocides and biofertilizers crafted from organic materials to foster and safeguard crop growth. Implementing a three-layer bagging approach, he ensured protection against damage and pest infestations, thereby ensuring uniform color dispersion and secure fruit development until harvest.
Following the successful harvest and sale of his initial guava crop in October and November of 2017, Rajeev amassed a total of Rs 20 lakh. Although he briefly delved into residue-free vegetable production, his promotional efforts proved less effective. Consequently, he made the strategic decision to persist in Thai guava farming, entering into a lease agreement for 55 acres of land in Rupnagar, Punjab, in 2019 alongside three other investors.
On this expansive land, Rajeev and his team dedicated 25 acres to guava tree cultivation, while maintaining Thai guava cultivation on the original five acres in Panchkula until it was sold in 2021. Harvesting the guava plants biannually during the rainy season and winter, they chose to market their produce exclusively during the rainy season to minimize competition. Delivering their goods in 10-kg crates to the Delhi APMC market, they consistently earned an average profit of Rs 6 lakh per acre.
Looking ahead, Rajeev envisions increasing the average maximum yield of his guava plants from 25 kg per plant to 40 kg per plant. He underscores the significance of employing organic farming methods in regions where chemical farming is less prevalent. Nevertheless, he acknowledges the challenges of maintaining organic farming in areas surrounded by farms using chemicals, citing the susceptibility to pest attacks. Additionally, Rajeev acknowledges the financial and labor-intensive nature of large-scale organic or natural farming, which can result in a lower overall yield.
Rajeev’s journey from VNR Seeds to successful residue-free Thai guava farming stands as an inspiring example for fellow entrepreneurs interested in embracing sustainable agriculture.