Finding their space in market fields of high profit

Pavithra A. and Mohammed Rinas during the preparation of their field for farming

Pavithra A. and Mohammed Rinas during the preparation of their field for farming

It may be now common for professionals to quit high-paying jobs and get back to the soil, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak, but only a few script success or survive long.

The story of a couple who left jobs in leading companies in Mumbai to turn to agriculture in 2016, however, tells a different story of grit, determination and passion. What worked in favor of the inter-faith couple—Pavithra A., former HR generalist, and Mohammed Rinas Mundakkal, a mechanical engineer in oil and gas field—is their decision to walk the roads less travelled.

While the majority of the paddy farmers go after new rice varieties that yield more than the traditional rice varieties, Mr. Rinas and Ms. Pavithra chose to grow traditional rice varieties like Rakthashali, Kuruva, Thavalakannan, Kunju kunju red rice, Njavara, etc. on their 20 acres of leased land near Vellangallur in Thrissur. These varieties have a yield of only one-third or one-fourth of that of the new hybrid varieties.

Through this initiative, they not only set a new benchmark in the farming of traditional rice varieties but also created a niche online market for their organically cultivated produce and its value-added products.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a workshop on India High Range Mountain Landscape project in Thiruvananthapuram, Ms. Pavithra says they never sell their paddy produce to agencies like Supplyco. Instead, they sell processed rice and value-added products like rice flakes, rice powder, etc. to consumers directly using online platforms.

“Selling the produce to Supplyco will not do any good for us. But these rice varieties and their value-added products have high demand among consumers. So we decided to stack our harvest and sell them after turning them to value-added products based on demand from consumers,” says Mr. Rinas.

While normal Uma rice variety fetches a yield of 3,000 kg per acre, the yield of Rakthashali is about 800-1,000 kg per acre. But if converted to ready-to-eat rice, it will fetch a price up to ₹250 per kg due to its medicinal value. The difference in yields can be compensated with high prices.

Hence, the farming of traditional varieties will become profitable only if there is a niche market for these products and the main risk involved in the process was finding a separate market for these organic produces, says Mr. Rinas.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 1:05:24 pm |