Andhra Pradesh

Two youngsters from Vizianagaram prove farming is a lucrative career option

Naveen Perla and Sudheer Vajrapu with the turmeric yield.

Naveen Perla and Sudheer Vajrapu with the turmeric yield.

A career in agriculture is, perhaps, not on the priority list of today’s youth, more so for those hailing from the urban areas. It certainly is not the preferred option for the management and engineering graduates passing out from top institutions.

But here are two youngsters who have taken to tilling the land, and have proven that farming is indeed a lucrative career option despite many challenges such as skyrocketing prices of land, seed, and fertilizer, and rising labour charges.

Meet Naveen Perla, a graduate from Indian Institute of Management-Kolkata, and Sudheer Vajrapu, an engineering graduate from BITS Pilani (Hyderabad), who have made this possible.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent work-from-home method adopted by their companies headquartered in Mumbai, Naveen and Sudheer had to stay put in Vizianagaram.

Although they did not know each other previously, they met in a conference and exchanged views on various issues, including agriculture. As they discovered a shared vision in agriculture, they decided to go for it.

With little knowledge in farming, the task was certainly challenging for them.

But help came from Sudheer’s family members, who were into food processing business. With their guidance and moral support, Naveen and Sudheer took 25 acres of land on lease near Korukonda on the outskirts of Vizianagaram.

With suggestions from agriculture experts and retired horticulture officers, they adopted best practices in plots bifurcation, fertigation, drip irrigation, and mulching, and developed a food forest by growing several varieties of vegetables, fruits and commercial crops, which included turmeric that is normally cultivated in the hilly areas.

As a majority of the crops came to yield in 45 to 60 days, they could taste their initial success in no time. The yield of watermelon, muskmelon, guava, papaya, and banana was so good.

The duo could achieve a turnover of about ₹40 lakh, besides providing direct and indirect employment to 1,200 people from the nearby villages.

Not to be content with this, Naveen and Sudheer established ‘Frmr Ecosystems Private Limited’, a startup that could get recognition from the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The company acts as a bridge between the farmers and agri-business companies.

In 2021, the company bought 30,000 tonnes of sugarcane from the farmers and supplied the same to the Bobbili-based NCS Sugars when it was struggling to get the required sugarcane during the crushing season.

Recently, the company supplied turmeric, pepper and red chilli to the food processing units in the North Andhra region and the Godavari districts.

Remunerative price

“Our startup could achieve ₹15 crore turnover and a gross profit of ₹35 lakh. We have helped the farmers get a decent and legitimate remunerative price, which is transparently fixed with the prior agreements entered into with the food processing units. We collect only the procurement charge from the food processing companies, which is sufficient to meet the expenses of our startup,” said Naveen while speaking to The Hindu.

“There are many students who strive hard to land jobs in top companies though their parents and family members are involved in agriculture activity. Our aim is to bring them back to the farms, which is not only lucrative but also fulfilling,” Naveen added.


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Printable version | Mar 1, 2022 8:34:11 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/two-youngsters-from-vizianagaram-prove-farming-is-a-lucrative-career-option/article65144504.ece