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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Agri Land Buyers : Crash course 101

Due to popular demand, I decided to publish a posting on agricultural land prospecting and purchase.

Following are some points, that I believe are important and buyers should keep them in mind while searching for the ideal land. Prior to commencing the search, you need to determine the required parameters for the type of cultivation or crop you want to pursue. Each crop has certain ideal soil, climate, water and processing requirements, these will become your driving parameters. It is rare to find the 'ideal' land but do your best. Having arrived on the parameters, use the following pointers to narrow down your land choices.

  1. Soil characteristic can be fairly easily evaluated based on neighboring cultivation. If there is minimal cultivation and the proposed land acreage is large, it is advisable to hire a JCB and dig some test pits to see the soil profile at least 3 ft deep. (Of course, employ the JCB when you are convinced that the papers are right and this is the right land for you.) You should look for white calcareous substrate beneath the soil. This is not good for cultivation.
  2. Presence of water bodies adjacent to your land is always beneficial, as chances are they replenish the water table under your land.
  3. Identify the nearest village. Ideally, you neither want it too close not too far from your land. About 1 km would be considered ideal. Close proximity may lead to unwanted interferences and longer distance may lead to labour unavailability later on.
  4. Evaluate if the land is low lying and is prone to flooding during monsoons.
  5. Ensure that the land has a clear and undisputed entrance. If there is no clear access or if you have to cross another patta land to get to yours, DO NOT buy the land. This will create problems later on.
  6. Evaluate the demography of the community adjacent to the land. There are certain communities that are a little more aggressive and resist “outside” entry, especially if it is a big plantation.  If the local community is known to be aggressive, it is better to look for another land, especially if you are not a local.
  7. Look for wells / borewells / electricity board (EB) connections and if there are in working conditions.  
  8. It is imperative to have a contiguous land. Any patches in middle should not be acceptable.  Assurances of acquiring the patches will land you in trouble later as that will be at enormous cost.
  9. Avoid lands with temples / shrines inside patta lands. Legally, local people can ask for access to the temple and that will result in loss of acreage or may add to the nuisance value.
  10. You cannot find a friendlier neighbour than a forest. Lesser the patta lands around you, fewer chances for disputes / interferences.
  11.  Legal Scrutiny: Please do not rely totally on sellers legal opinion. Have your own lawyer to do this job. Mother documents and Power of Attorneys are to be thoroughly scrutinized.
  12. Ensure payment of advance directly to the owner after entering into an agreement to sell, by cheque only.
  13. Price fixation parameters:  The price of the land will depend on the land prices in the surrounding area, availability of facilities on the land, location parameters, motorable accessibility to land and most important is how good it measures on your parametric scale. If you like the land, do not hesitate in paying a bit more, as you may not get another land of the same calibre.
  14. Key to land searching is PATIENCE.  Do not show your urgency to the brokers and do not take their promises/assurances on the face value. My experience is they are false / flawed in 75% cases. 

Following is a questionnaire I had prepared, when I was searching for land. I used this to eliminate lands which did not satisfy the basic criteria like soil color, contiguity, accessibility to owners etc.

Physical Characteristics :
What is the land acreage?
Is the land acreage absolutely contiguous?
What is the village name, taluk name?
What is the nearest town? How far?
What is the color of soil?
What is the current cultivation on the land?

Facilities :
Number of wells and bore wells?
Number of power connections?
Any other infrastructure present on the land?
How far is the land from state highway?
Is the road from state highway a tar road?

Current Ownership :
Original Patta is available?
Number of patta owners i.e. number of people who will be signing on the document.
If it is 1 family, please specify number of family member who will be signing on it?
Location of owners - local or remote?

Pricing :
What is the price per acre?
Do you have access to the owner?
Access to the primary broker? If not, how many brokers are there between you and the owner?
Motive for selling? 

That is all for now. If somebody would like to add to this list, kindly email me at saverafarms@gmail.com. Hope you enjoy this posting..


  1. This is a great summary, sure to help many prospective buyers. Good one!

  2. how do you get data on point 6?

  3. Brijesh -
    You can easily find out the details on the local community by talking to people (maybe from an adjacent village). Moreover, if you have a local liasion/broker, he should be able to tell you. Talking to somebody in taluk office should help as well.

  4. thanks for this kaustubh
    on another note having read your blogs, some quesitons came to my mind, will be grateful for advice

    1. all the machinery you used were your own or rented (including tipper, jcb etc)

    2. why did you choose a borewell crew from chattisgarh over local suppliers?

    3. will a prospective land seller allow to dig the place to 3 ft with a jcb to check for calcium deposits etc?

    kind regards,

  5. also did you achieve solarization through tillage? what is the difference between this and sterilization using plastic sheets? any pros and cons?

  6. Brijesh, following are the answers to your questions -
    1. machinery was rented. We plan on buying for our next phase.
    2. I did not choose the crew..I noticed that they were from outside, they roam all over the country depending on the season.
    3. Yes, he should. I do not see a reason why he should not let you do so.

    Yes, solarisation was done by digging. I would suspect plastic sheets would be more expensive and labor intensive. Since we had ample time, we dug the pits and let it solarise for 2-3 months.

  7. Dear Kaustubh, Have u read the book 'One Straw Revolution' by Masanobu Fukuoka? If you haven't please read it. And follow it up with his two other books, 'The Road Back to Nature' and 'The Natural Way of Farming'. Then you may have a different view of agriculture altogether. It will benefit not only you but others around you too. You seem to thinking 'commercially'.
    All the best.Thanks.

  8. Thanks for the recommendations. I will try to read them.

  9. Thanks, nice sum up !

    My Agricultural land buying experience may also help others, read here http://www.rameshwari.com/2012/05/how-to-buy-agricultural-farming-land-in.html