Kisan Diwas Special : Agri-business model built on the basis of organic farming, know from Manoj Bhatt of Ranikhet, how is the market of organic products
Agriculture Department got full support including Krishi Vigyan Kendra
Natural and organic farming is being promoted on a large scale across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has appealed to the national forum to adopt the mantra of ‘back to basic’. In December 2021, PM Modi (PM Narendra Modi) had stressed that there is a need to remove agriculture from chemistry lab and connect it with nature’s lab. Recently, I reached Ranikhet in Uttarakhand. Here I met Manoj Bhatt, a progressive farmer from Chiliyanaula village. I had already made an appointment to meet him. He has created such a business model of organic farming, which is really commendable. He is promoting organic farming on a large scale in his area. Along with this, they are also presenting an example of women empowerment.
Made himself self-sufficient through organic farming
Manoj Bhatt started his farming journey from 2009. He learned the nuances of organic farming from the State Organic Agriculture Training Center at Majkhali. Manoj Bhatt said that there was a time when there was no money to fulfill even the basic needs. Today he is cultivating multiple crops in 10 nali land (1 nali = 2190 square feet). Also a successful entrepreneur. In crops Mandua, Jhingora, Kauni, paddy and in pulses they cultivate Gahat, Bhatt, Munsiyari Rajma, Golden Turmeric, Yellow Chilli, Coriander and Ajwain.
Agriculture Department got full support including Krishi Vigyan Kendra
Manoj Bhatt said that he got full support from the Uttarakhand Agriculture Department and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the district. From time to time, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the district keeps sharing technical information, which is beneficial for the farmers. Manoj Bhatt says that the scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra made aware about cultivation of crops in queue. This saved seeds and increased production.
PGS buys produce from certified farmers
Manoj runs a firm by the name of ‘Arogya Uttarakhand Food Institute’. The institute has associated with it more than 550 women farmers from 22 nearby villages. Organic products are prepared by procuring produce from these women farmers, processing them. He started the work of preparing organic products from October 2020. These organic products are sold under the brand name ‘Aarogya’. All this produce is procured from PGS certified farmers of Uttarakhand.
What is PGS?
The central government is encouraging organic farming and less use of chemical fertilizers. Under this, organic areas are being certified. Its purpose is to make available the market to the products of farmers doing organic farming. The villages from where Manoj Bhatt buys his produce are certified organic under the PGS-India certificate scheme. The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare is working with states to identify chemical-free areas and certify them as suitable for organic farming.
Manoj Bhatt’s firm buys produce from women farmers according to the season. Manoj Bhatt told that Madua, Jhingora, many types of pulses and spices are bought in the Kharif season. Apart from this, many medicinal crops like Tulsi, Rosemary, Oregano are also procured. Mustard, coriander, turmeric and chamomile flowers and Buransh flowers are procured in Rabi season. Manoj Bhatt told that according to the demand of the market, he gets the farmers to do farming.
Demand for products in many big cities of the country
The products manufactured under the brand ‘Arogya’ are in demand in many big cities of the country. Till now they have sent products to many states including Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Chennai, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat. Many products like Bichhu grass tea leaves, Buransh tea and juice, Mandua flour ground in Gharat i.e. watermill, Munsiyari Rajma, Red Rice, Cold Press Oil, Black Sesame Oil, Golden Turmeric Powder, Badri Cow Ghee are prepared. are done. We also make customized gifting boxes of organic products.
Did mouth-to-mouth publicity, used social media
Manoj Bhatt himself looks after the work from packaging to marketing of the products. In the beginning, information about the products reached from mouth-to-mouth, that is, from one person to another. In this way this series continued to grow. They then increased the reach of their products by engaging customers through social media such as WhatsApp groups and Instagram. Apart from this, we are also selling through many online platforms like Indiamart.
20% of the profit is distributed among the women farmers
During the Corona period where many businesses were locked, their annual turnover during that time was around Rs 12 lakh. Manoj Bhatt told that every year 20% of the profit earned by his firm is distributed among the women farmers. This gives encouragement to women and boosts their morale.
They showed us each of their products. After this we turned to their fields. He showed us his many crops including radish, mustard, coriander and garlic. Also, we tasted the Buransh tea prepared by them. Let me tell you that Buransh is the state tree of Uttarakhand. Many farmers there cultivate it.
The specialty of Buransh tea
Manoj Bhatt explains that Buransh flowers are collected and dried in a solar dryer. Then tea is prepared by mixing many herbs including basil in it. Apart from this, we are also preparing sugar free juice from Buransh. Buransh is beneficial for health. Anti-microbial properties are found in it, which help in keeping the body healthy. Nutrients like iron, calcium, zinc, copper etc. are found in it.
Specialty of scorpion tea
The leaves of scorpion grass are first plucked and dried in a solar dryer. After drying, other herbs including lemon grass are added to it. Manoj told that scorpion grass tea is also beneficial for health. This tea prevents joint pain and kidney related problems.
FSSAI certified products
He has got the license of FSSAI. FSSAI License is also known as ‘Food License’. This license is necessary to run any food related business in India, because this license certifies that the food product you make or sell satisfies the food standards set by the Government of India.
The certificate has also been issued by the Khadi Village Industries Commission. Arogya Uttarakhand Food Institute is also registered in Uttarakhand Government’s Rural Business Incubator Center Hawalbagh Almora.
Joined women farmers
Manoj says that his work has provided employment to many women in the area. Today he is not dependent on anyone. She is standing on her feet. They are given the right price for their produce. They do not have to travel outside to the market or mandi to sell their produce.
All these women are associated with Uttarakhand Agricultural Production and Marketing Cooperative FPO. Manoj Bhatt’s wife Neha Bhatt is in charge of this FPO. Neha Bhatt told in conversation with Kisan of India that first of all she formed small groups of women from 22 villages. Appealed to these women that if they grow crops in their fields right from the small scale, then he will buy the produce from them. This will make them self-reliant and generate employment opportunities.
Vegetables are also grown with polyhouse technology
Manoj Bhatt explains that he uses the polyhouse technique because there is more snow in his area. Because of this, crops are not grown in winter or due to frost, they also have to face losses. Cultivation is possible even in extreme climate in polyhouse. Under a scheme of the Agriculture Department, he got polyhouses installed at his place.
What is the goal going forward?
Manoj Bhatt told that he is looking for possibilities of setting up a growth center to take his work to a bigger level. Talks are on with the district administration for setting up a growth center at the development block level. This will increase employment opportunities in the area. Under the One District One Product (ODOP) scheme, there is a plan to set up a processing unit of Khumani to make millet biscuits, flakes, laddoos, namkeen.
Manoj Bhatt was honored in January 2021 by the then Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat for the work of rural self-employment food processing.
Contact us: If farmers want to share information or experiences related to farming with us, then they can do this by calling us on the phone number 9599273766 or by writing an email to [email protected] or by sending your recording. Through Kisan of India, we will convey your message to the people, because we believe that if the farmers are advanced then the country is happy.