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  • Maximising income: Chitta farmer shows the way

    May 3rd, 2017

    A small farmer from Chitta village has learnt to maximise his income by processing his farm produce. Narayan Rao Manikappa Bardabade, who grows cashew and sugarcane on his five-acre farm, has been producing four types of byproducts from cashew and organic jaggery from sugarcane for two years now.“In the first year we had problems selling our products. But now more people know about these products and we are able to sell them quickly. All the jaggery was sold out. I reduced my cost of growing sugarcane by using fewer seeds and avoiding inorganic inputs. I sold around 10 quintals of jaggery for 60 rupees a kilogram,” he said.

    Under a promotion project funded by the Directorate of Cashewnut and Cocoa Development, members of the non-government organisation, Prawardha, convinced Narayan Rao of the possibilities of growing cashew on two-and-a-half acres of hard bed laterite rock farm that had remained uncultivated for decades. The board gave him technical inputs and provided monetary assistance.

    “I started getting yields from the fourth year. From then on, each year, the yields have doubled and the price has steadily increased,” he said. He was worried about the apples that were going waste. He visited the cashew research centre in Puttur and sought advice from scientists. They gave me valuable advice. They also organised a training session in cashew product processing in the College of Horticulture, Bidar.

    His wife Sayamma and her neighbours Chitramma Chidri and Sangeeta Hugar attended the training. They are now making juice, jam, candy, and pickle. “By next year, we will produce cattle fodder and chicken feed from apple pulp,” Narayan Rao said. He is slowly building up his client base for his cashew products by giving samples to those who had bought jaggery from him. “I have sold one quintal of raw apples for two rupees apiece. All other value added products have brought me so much money that I have recovered the cost of labour, and inputs for this year,” he said.

    Considering his entrepreneurial zeal, the zilla panchayat and the College of Horticulture have helped him set up a cashewnut processing centre. Three years ago, the then Deputy Commissioner P. C Jaffer and zilla panchayat Chief Executive Officer Ujjwal Ghosh approved of the college’s plans of setting up three fruit processing centres in Bidar district at a cost of Rs. 50 lakh.

    The first centre is already running on the college campus where students get hands-on experience and farmers can get their nuts processed on custom hire basis. The centre in Chitta is being put up near the gram panchayat. “We are asking cashew growing farmers to bring their nuts to the centre for processing. We are now selling raw nuts at between Rs. 80 and Rs. 115 per kilogram. But if we process them, we can get between Rs. 800 and Rs. 1,000 per kg,” he said.

    “If we process 100 kilograms, we get 30 kilograms of cashew. The cashew grown in Bidar is classified as W-210, that is considered the second best in India. Processing will help us triple our incomes, if not double them,” he said.