A father and his son in Kerala are scripting an entrepreneurial success by cultivating grass and earning an income of over Rs six lakh per month. S Keshavadas, 60, and his son Manikandan K, 31, of Angamaly in Ernakulam have been growing Napier grass for the last nine years at their Green Grass Fodders farm, which they started in 2015.
Keshavadas, with no prior experience in farming, decided to take up Napier grass cultivation after becoming disillusioned with a network marketing job in which he worked for more than 10 years. “I quit my job and initially planned to start a cattle farm with buffaloes. However, I got a chance to attend a training programme organised by Milma, where I learned about Napier grass. So, I started researching Napier grass and finally decided to give it a try,” Keshavadas told “Open Digest.”
Soon, Keshavadas started growing Napier grass on a small scale and gradually expanded cultivation after realizing the demand for Napier grass from cattle farms and fish farms as fodder. “We now cultivate Napier grass on over 20 acres of land. Though the 2018 floods damaged the farm, we managed to overcome the crisis,” said Keshavadas. The Green Grass Fodders now has a turnover of Rs six lakhs per month and a profit of around Rs three lakhs per month.
It was after the floods that Manikandan joined his father at the farm to help him revive it. “Earlier, buyers in Kerala had to source Napier grass from Tamil Nadu. But now, we supply a regular quantity of grass to them. We are using a breed called Super Napier Grass, which can be cut every three months and can be replanted using its stem. The grass is generally planted during the summer season, and it grows faster in the summer. We only use organic fertilisers on our farm,” Manikandan added.
Both Keshavadas and Manikandan have found buyers for their grass from Thrissur and have also won tenders to supply grass to temples. Currently, their farm employs more than a dozen people, and they have also launched a franchisee model farming in Kalady and Perumbavoor. “We have formed a network of Napier grass farmers from whom we buy the grass and pay them,” Manikandan said.
The father and the son, who work on the farm daily from 6 am to 6 pm, have a word of advice for those looking to start their venture. “There are a lot of opportunities around us. We need to identify the one in which we can deliver the best. If we are willing to put in our best, we will get results,” they added.