A small board leads to his three-and-a-half acre farm at Kondady village, about 18 kilometres from Udupi, where you find the innovative farmer Ravindra Naik (32) checking the growth of bananas on plantain trees.

Mr. Naik, who belongs to the Marathi Naik community, a Scheduled Tribe, received the R. Dwarakinath International Society of Extension Education Innovative Farmer National Award, 2013, at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore on December 5, 2013. The certificate states: “This award is conferred for excellence in agriculture and allied fields, showing innovativeness and increasing productivity on his farm.”

Besides growing plantains and Shankarpura jasmine on an acre of land, Mr. Naik grows paddy on 1.5 acres, and areca, pepper, and vegetables on the remaining one acre. He uses only organic fertilizers such as chicken-manure slurry and cow-dung slurry. What’s more, he makes a clean profit of about Rs. 1.25 lakh a year on an average.

Educated only till class six, he left school to help his father in agriculture. His father used to grow only paddy. “When I saw that my father used to pay a lot to get cow-dung slurry, I started to think on reducing cost on the slurry. This kindled my interest in agriculture,” he said.

Mr. Naik also diversified into cultivating other crops. To reduce costs, he got a loan of Rs. 3 lakh from the Hiriyadka Farmers Cooperative Bank about four years ago. With this loan, he built a poultry farm, where he rears 3,000 hens. He has three cows.

He got a well dug and procured an irrigation pumpset free of cost under the Ganga Kalyana scheme. He got five sprinklers and 600 feet of pipelines.

He gets a yield of 52 quintals of paddy from the first crop and 26 quintals in the second crop, which he sells directly to houses. He also sells vegetables such as ladyfinger, ash-gourd and yellow pumpkins in nearby shops. “I get Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 4,000 every month from my 200 jasmine plants. I get four crops of bananas in a year from my 700 plantain trees. I get Rs. 4,000 per crop,” he said. Cows yield him three to four litres of milk. He keeps one-and-a half litres for his household consumption. By mixing the remaining milk with poultry feed, he has increased their feed Conversion Ratio and reduced the mortality of birds.

More In: Mangalore