At a time when farming is not thought of as a profitable occupation, a farmer from Kushtagi taluk of Koppal district provides a silver lining. He has made huge profits that can even rival industrial income.
G. Rudragouda of Tavaragera village in Kushtagi earned about Rs. 67 lakh last year by growing pomegranate on 14 acres of land using organic farming methods. An embodiment of confidence,
Mr. Rudragouda was the most sought-after farmer at a State-level agricultural produce exporters’ workshop, organised jointly by Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing & Export Corporation, in association with Agricultural Technologists’ Institution in Bangalore on Friday. Several farmers and presspersons attempted to interact with him on his farming practices, export opportunities and price issue.
Mr. Rudragouda told The Hindu that he gets an average yield of 10 to 12 tonnes of pomegranate from one acre of land. Last year he got a total yield of about 140 tonnes. He exported half of this to European countries and the remaining was sold at the local market. The export produce fetched about Rs. 75 a kg while the locally sold fruit earned only Rs. 35 a kg. He made about Rs. 45 lakh from exports and Rs. 22 lakh from local sales. His income is set to rise sharply as he planted pomegranate saplings on another 30 acres of land about three years ago.
Mr. Rudragouda, who is also a recipient of the Dr. M.H. Marigowda State’s Best Horticulture Farmer Award of the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore (2008-09), receives visits from several agricultural scientists who wish to learn of his farming practices and innovations. Mr. Rudragouda is also concerned about the bacterial blight menace that haunts pomegranate growers as it severely affects the yield. “We are yet to get any quality support on this from the government. We just manage on our own through home-made organic solutions,” he says. Only about 50 pomegranate farmers from the State export their produce and he is the biggest exporter among them. It would be possible to increase their numbers if steps were taken to address the bacterial blight menace, he says.