Kerala

Following his inner call to manage the field

Green thumb: Philip K. Chacko in his farm on Sunday.  

Philip K. Chacko studied Master of Business Administration (MBA), but his love for organic farming steered him towards a career in agriculture.

A native of Muhamma in Alappuzha, the 31-year-old quit his job as a plantation company manager in 2019 to follow his inner desire to become a farmer. More than a year later, he is now busy growing 22 varieties of vegetables and fruits on 36 acres of leased land at Kanjikuzhy and Muhamma.

Mr. Chacko says that he wanted to practise agriculture after completing MBA in 2013, but lacked the courage to tell his parents about the wish. “I joined a real-estate firm in Ernakulam and continued there for three years. In 2016, I left the job to start a buffalo farm project in association with a reputed business house in Kottayam. However, we were forced to postpone our project after the Central government came up with a new cattle slaughter rule. The firm, which has stakes in rubber and tea plantations, offered me a managerial post. I always wanted to manage my own farm and finally, I decided to follow my inner calling in December 2019,” he says.

After quitting the job, he carried out organic vegetable cultivation on an experimental basis on 12 acres last year with the support of his wife and other family members. Finding success in the initial efforts, he later expanded the farm project. His cherished agriculture journey is, however, not without hurdles. Up to 80% of seedlings he planted at the turn of 2021 got destroyed in heavy downpour. Over the past couple of days, he put up a show of grit and determination to replant everything.

Mr. Chacko says that he has invested all his life savings in agriculture and that he could not be discouraged in the face of adversities. “These are things that we have no control over. The rain has caused severe damage and I suffered losses. With replanting now completed, the farm is now running full-fledged. The only pain is that the harvest will be delayed, which will, in turn, prevent the second round of cultivation before the monsoon rains,” he says, adding that he will further expand farming to 100 acres in the near future.

The young farmer says his experience in business administration will come handy in marketing the farm produce. He is growing spinach, long beans, brinjal, pumpkin, potato, bitter gourd, okra, onion, shallot, sesame, green gram, cucumber, watermelon and so on in his farm. Besides, he is rearing buffalo and fish.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 4:01:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/following-his-inner-call-to-manage-the-field/article33594031.ece

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