A couple in Kerala are showing the world how to make farming a successful venture by leveraging the power of social media. What more, they have been earning lakhs from farming for the last eight years without even owning a piece of land.
James Francis, 45, and his wife Bincy James, 42, of Vandiperiyar in Idukki are very much happy to have given up their job as casual labourers to take up farming and use social media to sell their produce directly to buyers at market rate.
Eight years back when the couple, who were daily wage labourers, decided to start farming, they didn’t have any funds with them. They pledged their small house in a nearby bank to take land on lease to do the farming.
“We were casual labourers working in different farms for years. Finally, we thought of starting our own farm. We pledged our small property in a bank to take 1.25 acre of land at Vandiperiyar on lease,” Bincy James told “Open Digest”.
Both Bincy and James did their research on YouTube to learn about special types of vegetables that grow in high ranges of Idukki. “We wanted to cultivate rare varieties of vegetables which are hard to get in Kerala. So, we started cultivating Chinese Cabbage, Broccoli, Strawberry, Beans, Cherry Tomato and Apple Tomato,” Bincy said. The couple strictly adhere to organic farming practices by not using chemical fertilisers or pesticides.
Farming has helped the couple to take back their small property which they had pledged and provide quality education to their three children – two sons and a daughter. While the daughter is doing her BSc nursing, one son is pursuing automobile engineering and the other in tenth standard.
The duo decided to extensively use social media to spread the word about their farming after they realised that they need to sell their produce directly to buyers avoiding the middlemen to earn profit. “I opened Facebook and Instagram accounts in my name to post pictures and videos of our farming activities. After seeing our work, people started to call us to place orders for the vegetables. Now customers come from faraway places to buy vegetables,” Bincy added.
Currently, Bincy’s social media accounts have over 75,000 followers who are largely her customers. “We are paying over Rs three lakh yearly for the leased land. We are planning to buy our own land for expanding our organic vegetable farming,” she said.