Zero-investment, maximum results

Neither does he use compost on his farm nor does unduly worry about care for his farm. Yet, he reaps rich profits.

All thanks to the curry leaf trees (karibevu in Kannada) that need minimal attention. These trees have become the backbone of his farm and are a major means of livelihood for him.

Meet Shamarao Patil of Garur village in Gulbarga district. He has used intensive farming methods on his 3.5 acres of land. Apart from the curry leaf tree, his land has hundreds of other trees. Patil has emerged as a pioneer in curry tree farming, which seems to be rare in this dry land area.

About eight years ago, he visited a Math in Dhuttaragaon village of Aland taluk where he was drawn to curry tree cultivation. He procured a handful of seeds and sowed them in his farm.

“Actually I was not aware of the variety of curry tree seedlings I sowed. But, it turns out that the fragrance of these leaves is more than that of any other trees. That’s why the demand for leaves from this tree has increased gradually,” says Shamarao Patil.

Initially he had planted the saplings along the borders of his farm, but now they have proliferated a major area of his land. Interestingly, curry trees work as live fencing and repel insects with their odour.

Patil sells curry leaves once in three months. Each time , the sale fetches him around Rs 10,000. Apart from this, he also sells saplings of curry tree.

Though his land is not very fertile, the trees seem to be flourishing on his farm. Patil points out that he has no time to pay any attention to his curry tree farm. “Curry trees have flourished on my farm, thanks largely to birds  that act as major pollinators,” he notes.

 He adds, “If you look underneath a curry tree, you are bound to find a number of saplings. I take them out along with the roots and transplant them  into plastic bags. I sell these at a cost of Rs 8 to 10 per sapling.  I have been able to sell about 2,000 saplings every year thus far.” 

Patil’s farm is home to other varieties including mango, drumstick, lemon, pomegranate, tamarind, custard apple, and bamboo. These fetch him a handsome income. And then, there are the curry trees. He earns over Rs 50,000 from 500 curry trees; and that too without any maintenance! Patil has shown that agriculture can be lucrative, if done the right way.

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