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This Bengali migrant worker is now a successful farmer in Kerala

Milan Shaik at his farm in Nedumbassery, Ernakulam in Kerala. Photo By: Manikandan Poickadan

A West Bengal native is scripting a new narrative of farming success in Kerala, earning lakhs at a time when Malayalee youth are scouting for jobs across the world. Yes, Milan Shaik, 28, of Domkal in Murshidabad, West Bengal, who migrated to Kerala years ago, is now a big-time farmer in Kerala cultivating tapioca, banana, and other vegetables on over 50 acres of land at Nedumbassery and Angamaly in Ernakulam.

Milan Shaik arrived in Kerala 13 years ago in search of his friend who had left his home in Domkal for a job. Milan Shaik was 14 when he reached Kerala looking for his friend. Upon reaching Kerala and observing his surroundings, he decided to stay back and work as a guest labourer in the construction sector. For eight years, Milan worked on different construction sites and later started working in a tapioca field.

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“It was while working in the tapioca farm that I realised there is a huge demand for fresh farm produce and vegetables in Kerala. I always loved farming and took a small tract of land on lease to cultivate vegetables,” Milan Shaik told “Open Digest.”

For the last five years, Milan Shaik has been into farming and has now taken over 50 acres of land on lease in different places in Nedumbassery to cultivate tapioca, banana, Ash Gourd, Spinach, and Okra. Milan now employs over 20 migrant workers on his farm. “I came here as a labourer, and now I run a farm business. I am happy that I could find a better life in Kerala, which is truly the best place to live,” Milan said.

Milan and his workers start the day at the farm by 7 am and work until 5 pm. “We have to be fully dedicated to farming. I work 365 days on the land. The people of Kerala are very friendly, and many have supported me in becoming a farmer,” he said. Milan says that most of his farm produce is exported and sold in hypermarkets like Lulu. “I started farming with a small investment. But now I am earning lakhs every year from farming. One needs to put in their best to reap success from farming,” he added.

Milan also takes up social responsibility assignments to help other migrant labourers. During the Covid-19 lockdown period, he worked as a volunteer at Ernakulam Collectorate to provide support to migrant labourers who were in distress.

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