In the era of startups, when you imagine an entrepreneur, you usually think of a youngster in an urban setup, who’s designed a cool new app or opened an e-commerce portal from the comfort of his office. But Dhanaji Nade breaks this stereotype.
A rural entrepreneur from Maharashtra, Nade’s startup is no app or web portal, but a goat farm, called Krishi Vaibhav Goat Farm. In this farm, he is everything – the CEO, the manager and the employee. At just 37, he set up a farm in a small village called Kasbe Tadwade near Tuljapur, breeding Osmanabadi goats. Osmanabadi goats are native to Maharashtra and known for their reproductive capabilities.
His journey, however, has not been easy. Nade had a tough life – when he started out in 1998, he worked as a daily wage labourer for a meagre ₹35 a day, and couldn’t hold a steady job. After the initial struggle, in 2003, he attended a seminar on goat-farming, where he realised he had the necessary requirements to start his own venture.
So, he decided to take the plunge – and turned his life around.
He began by buying three goats and left them to the care of his brother. Though his brother sold the cattle for a profit in the agricultural season that followed, Nade’s first attempt to start a long-term business had failed. He made two more attempts, but failed both times because of opposition from his family and fellow villagers.
But Nade was not one to give up. With support from his wife, in 2014, he made yet another attempt to set up his goat-farming venture, giving up a job that earned him about ₹50,000 a month. Initially, he invested ₹7 lakh in the business and had 20 goats. With no veterinarian available near his village, he learned everything about caring for cattle from scratch.
This time, it worked! His venture is already three years old and the farm currently has a turnover of ₹10-12 lakh per annum. He has supplied goats to the Kerala government, and even to a large-scale foreign meat production company, among others.
His ambitions haven’t been exhausted with just making money, though. Having successfully launched a venture, he is now actively involved in creating awareness about better farming techniques in Maharashtra and in helping other farmers start their own goat farms. He’s even formed an association with his colleagues – the Osmanabadi Shedya Palan Association – to help those seeking guidance!
Today, having added so many entrepreneurial achievements to his kitty, Nade is turning his attention towards online marketing and social media. Keeping with the times, he aspires not only to publicise his business online, but also conduct sessions to train aspiring goat farmers more easily. At a time when newspapers are ripe with information about farmer suicides in Maharashtra due to drought, Dhanaji Nade’s story comes as a breath of fresh air, as he works tirelessly to contribute towards the upliftment of fellow farmers, and attempts to change the status quo.
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