Saturday, April 28, 2012

Communicating over Meebo messenger

It is great to see many of you are using the messenger to ask a quick question, get some advice on cultivation practices or just get some ideas from me to on how to utilize your fallow lands etc (Wow, I feel like a consultant already, however my feedback and advice shall always remain free!)

Unfortunately, I cannot attend to your queries sometimes and messages go unanswered. Feel free to mail me at I am usually pretty good about replying and you can expect to hear from me within 2-3 days.

Secondly, lots of agri related exhibitions/events scheduled this summer, do look up the events page for details.

Happy to note that people are interacting well on the site, so keep the questions, comments and observations flowing and delighted to note that we have crossed 50,000 views.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pruning of Mango UHD Video

First round of pruning was started in Mid march. Most of the plants were above a couple of feet which got us started with the first round of pruning.It was great to see the primary branches with red tender leaves emerge a couple of weeks later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Article on Savera Farms

Last month, we were approached by SeedMe - an online portal that highlights new entrepreneurial ventures across industries. The editor contacted me via linkedin and wanted to gather more information about our current activities and our future plans. Some of you have already visited our farm at Sivagangai and seen the developments here but for the interest of others who have not been able to visit or contact us, following is a good articulation of where we are and where we are heading.
I hope you enjoy reading and as always, do give us your feedback, ideas and suggestions!

How this idea to start your business flourished?

While I was in the US, I was intrigued by the growing awareness about ‘Green Energy’. I shared my vision with my brother and we started exploring opportunities in biomass renewable energy. We soon realized that along with biomass, commercial agriculture would be a viable option for the Indian market. Agriculture in India still provides an attractive opportunity if coupled with clarity of purpose goal, scientific execution and penetrating marketing. Currently government power purchase agreements are not very favorable for the Independent Power Producers (IPP) hence our focus changed to production and marketing Melia Dubia for timber/plywood industries. Based on our experiences so far and market feedback, we are very optimistic about our plantations and are enjoying unparalleled job satisfaction.

Your initial investment in starting this business?

Total capital outlay is spread over a few key tasks. As expected the initial land acquisition is the largest single investment but there were several other tasks with significant capital requirements as we developed our plantations. Aspiring agri-prenuers with limited exposure to agriculture should be aware and not underestimate the costs related to Land Improvement, Farm Infrastructure and Annual Interest Burden. Those purchasing uncultivated or fallow land should be especially careful and include sufficient cost contingency in their purchase decision.

Tell us about educational background & experience.

My formative years were spent at The Doon School in Dehradun, Uttranchal. Living in a pristine environment, I became accustomed to a clean environment, developed principles in conservation of resources and appreciated the proximity to nature. I participated in several environmentally conscious activities at school like leading our Paper Recycling Unit and conducting aforestation programs on the hillsides of the Shivalik and Lower Himalayan ranges. My higher education took place in the United States at Georgia Tech and Duke University from where I received my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering & Masters in Engineering Management respectively. After working for several years in the Semi-conductor industry, I realized I was not connecting with my interests and my passions lay elsewhere. Subsequently, I started discussing the potential of alternative / renewable energy with my brother which finally brought me back home to India. Credit goes to my father, an Air Force officer and his network. They undertook the humongous task of visiting over 110 farm lands before deciding on our current location at  Sivaganga. By far the most important decision an aspiring agri-prenuer will need to make will be the land selection. Finally, we started Savera Farms and agricultural activities in 2010. It has been a great journey so far.

To read more, click here..

Friday, April 13, 2012

Agri gets priority in Kerala

It is encouraging to see that the Kerala government is giving agriculture a much needed boost. Although a significant amount of funding is being allocated to various agri related activities, it remains to be seen how well these plans transform into execution. It is unfortunate that a state like Kerala which enjoys abundant natural resources, still lags in the agri rankings. Hopefully, these plans will help the state in realizing its full potential.

"Revival of the agriculture sector is one of the thrust areas in the state budget for 2012- 13 moved by Finance Minister K.M.Mani in the Assembly on Monday.
In his budget presentation, Mr.Mani has earmarked Rs.100 crore for an integrated agricultural development scheme to improve the production of paddy, vegetables and tuber crops. Declaring tender coconut water as the official drink of Kerala, he announced a scheme to make coconut farming remunerative by grouping coconut farmers into societies.
The budget proposes the adoption of high tech methods to combat climate change and ensure higher productivity and better quality of agricultural produce. It has allocated Rs.10 crore for the establishment of rice bio parks to boost paddy production in Alappuzha and Palakkad districts."

To read more,  click here..

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Great Indian Bull Run

A couple of months ago on our way to the plantation, we were desperately flagged off the road by a few pedestrians. Unknown to us, a panic stricken wave of people and animals were just around the corner! Watch to see what happened next..

Disclaimer : All references to the bullocks, men in whites and Amma are purely satirical and not any reflection on them individually. Enjoy! :)

Music Credit : Letter from Dublin by Rick Clarke