Technicians quit IT jobs and enter organic farming


Successive waves of Covid-19 have not dampened the enthusiasm of young people who have ventured into organic farming, after bidding farewell to their well-paying jobs in the IT industry.

Abhishek Gatty was working in Belgium after completing his Masters in Physics. Originally from Moodbidri, he dreamed of leading an independent life. Soon he quit his job and arrived on his ancestral land in Siddakatte. He built a small hut on the land, cultivated rice and a variety of vegetables on the remaining part of the land.

Abhishek even went so far as to use a traditional pestle to husk the paddy and make sure the rice retains all the nutrients. Abhishek recalls leading a minimalist lifestyle during the pandemic.

Drawing on his agricultural experience, he ventured into cultivating a variety of ‘kaje’ rice on seven acres of land in Kunjaru, Udupi.

Today, Abhishek has a long list of customers looking for his organically grown rice, vegetables and milk collected from seven cows.

“With customers realizing the true value of organic crops, it is possible to ensure that farming is profitable,” says Abhishek, drawing on his own experience.

Agriculture beckons

Prashanth Nayak, who was an IT professional, quit his job after working in India and abroad for more than two decades. Two years ago he bought four acres of land in Petri near Brahmavar.

“As my parents were also from an agricultural background, I was going back to my roots,” he said.

Nayak says the goal of making huge profits from the use of pesticides is a myth.

“But organic farming is profitable, good for the environment and people’s health,” he emphasizes.

In Petri, Prashanth grows coconut, rice, black gram, vegetables and turmeric. He grows leafy vegetables in a greenhouse. He also planted young fruit trees in 50 cents of land, to raise a forest.

There is an imbalance in the food chain due to the excessive use of insecticides. If there are no worms, the birds that feed on the worms will not survive. If the caterpillars are killed, there will be no more butterflies which will play an important role in food production, he said.

Prashanth predicts that with a ratio of farmers and consumers of 1: 200, there will be a huge food shortage.

Technology application

Suraj Rao, originally from Mangaluru, worked for six years at a software company in Bangalore. Cultivation of crops using hydroponics technology attracted him and soon he returned to Kunjaru in Udupi to engage in farming and care for his parents.

On his farm, he sowed several vegetables such as cucumber, drumstick, chili and other leafy vegetables.

Due to the growing dependence on vegetables grown in other districts, Suraj says there is a need to conserve local varieties of vegetables and leafy greens, which are rapidly disappearing.

He plans to grow tubers and fruiting saplings along the farm boundary so that major crops are not affected by attacks from porcupines and monkeys.

“Before you grow any plants, it’s important to prepare the soil first. Due to the overuse of fertilizers, the useful microbes in a cubic centimeter of soil had increased from 20 million to four million. Returning the soil to its original health is a process that can take many years. Organic manure will speed up the process, ”he added.

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