24-year-old Raghav Baldwa is a native of Indore, MP. For a long time now, Raghav has been using sustainable farming techniques and employing debt-ridden farmers to help them pay off their loans and safeguard their livelihoods.
When he was in TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) pursuing his Masters in Business Administration, Raghav Baldwa began researching and studying about organic farming and its scope in India.
Raghav Say, “The more time I spent researching, “my aspirations of becoming an organic farmer grew. I found out that there are some serious issues which need to be resolved in this industry. I realised that people, no matter how educated they are, they give almost no importance to the source of food they are eating every day. Many people claiming to sell organic produce fail to show any certifications related to it. Using this level of ignorance and lack of information, organic retailers started taking advantage. Charging a premium price for organic products without any certification by any private or public agency became a habit. All these retailers are majorly middlemen – even they don’t have any clue of how and where the organic produce they are selling is grown”.
We also work on a leasing model,” Raghav said, “we take land from farmers who are in debt and have a piece of land but no resources to cultivate crops on it. We prepare that land for organic farming, train those farmers for the same, and take care of all the certifications and rules and regulation. Employing those farmers again on their land helps them not to shift to cities for work, which saves their livelihood – and their lives as well.”
Raghav’s farmer consists of over 42 acres of land and employs over 150 people annually for various blue collar jobs.
Raghav train, educate and motivate this farmers on how and why to use organic farming practices.
Raghav is currently working with 8 farmers in and around Indore. He also provides his consultation and helps farmer’s with complex certification process for organic farming.
Raghav said we aim to convert over 1000 acres of land into certified organic farm land by 2022.
Raghav is presently working on various methods to increase production and yield. This includes adopting different techniques that help save water – like drip irrigation, sprinklers and mud pots inside the ground. Raghav aims to use technology and science as much as possible to increase the yield.
Raghav said, “I am also working on moisture sensing technology to sense the moisture in the soil and watering accordingly, which can save a lot of water. I am also working on implementing drones in farms for surveillance purposes.”
Nobody in last three generations of Raghav’s family was into farming. He did face many challenges in his early days. “I learned it the hard way, mainly through primary and secondary research. I took help from a couple of experts in agriculture. We use methods such as crop rotation, mulching, intercropping, companion farming, etc. We use only natural substances such as cow dung, vermicompost manure, cow urine, neem manure, gobar manure, etc. We also use natural fertilisers such as panchakarma and amruthapani. The cost of preparing these items is expensive, but results are great, and the best part is all these are 100% organic.”