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How multi-cropping helped a Kerala farmer earn lakhs, tide over crisis

Ajith Kumar at his farm in Shoranur, Kerala. Photo: Special Arrangement.

Farming can positively change life, and this 44-year-old man from Kerala has changed his life from financial distress to financial stability through farming. Ajith Kumar from Vaniyamkulam, Shoranur is an inspiration to those who are considering farming as a livelihood.

A little bit of planning coupled with hard work turned his ten-acre plot of land, which he took on lease, into a thriving farmland that cultivates over 12 different kinds of crops, which have buyers from different parts of the state.

Born into an agricultural family, Ajith Kumar has always had a strong connection to the land. Following his father’s death in 2010, Ajith, a plus two pass, was forced to commit his entire life into farming to provide a more secure living for his family. He got into farming following the conventional strategy of cultivating a single crop a season. But soon, he realised that weather and market preferences were shifting and affecting the demand in the market.

“Relying solely on a single crop is risky. The demand for produce changes due to several reasons, and the market is always in flux. So I started cultivating multiple varieties of crops. This gave me the option to stay competitive in the market even if one crop fails to give me better yields or price. Though our profit margin will be less, we can ensure that we get a steady flow of income. The multiple crop strategy has never let me down since I opted for it. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many farmers experienced setbacks, I could get good returns from my farm,” Ajith told “Open Digest“.

Ajith says he was proud to have chosen farming as his livelihood because it gave him a consistent source of income while enjoying what he loved doing. “I could take care of my family, and we are all happy with the life which we could build doing farming,” he said. Apart from doing farming on a leased land of 10 acres, Ajith also owns five acres of land.

Following his multiple crop strategy, he grows arrowroot, sugar-free tapioca, sumo tapioca, Kasturi turmeric, Pratibha turmeric, black turmeric, spinach, sweet potato, and Chinese potato among many others on the ten-acre land, while he cultivates sugar palm, black pepper, coconut, and a few other essential fruits and vegetables on the five-acre land.

Ajith adds that arrowroot has been remaining consistently high in demand, with people from different parts of the state reaching out to him to place orders for powdered form.

His wife Renjini, 38, mother Sarojini, 70, and daughter Anjana help him in his farming. “We are now working to create a brand for our products. By next year, we will launch a brand for our arrowroot powder and Kasturi turmeric. We also plan to farm honey and make natural soaps,” he added

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