Farmer turns successful nurseryman

Farmer turns successful nurseryman

Anything can be achieved with a strong will and hard work," says Prakash, a proud nurseryman from Pakegowdana Palya near Hesaraghatta on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The quote stems from his experience of transformation from a humble farmer to a successful nursery owner with an annual turnover of three crore rupees.

Fifteen years ago, just like his fellow vegetable growers, he used to raise seedlings on raised beds and transplant them after a month. Even slightly higher rainfall post transplanting would ruin the crop. Besides, this practice demanded higher seed rate and higher cost towards the seed. To avoid all these, he thought of producing seedlings in trays with cocopeat as the growing medium. The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, which is located close to his land, came to his help through technical guidance.

Prakash started with eight plastic trays using which he produced 800 seedlings. This effort resulted in quality seedlings, better crop and reduced crop period. Farmers in the neighbourhood realised the advantages of this method and requested for such seedlings. This led to the establishment of a nursery called Ekalavya Sasya Kshethra. It is through constant practice and experiments that he learnt the nuances of raising good quality seedlings and nursery management. In 15 years, the number of seedlings produced per month has increased from 2,000 to 50 lakh. Nearly 30 people assist him throughout the year. All of them are happy about his caring ways which go beyond the workplace. His family also actively contributes to the success of the enterprise. All these have helped him provide quality service consistently.

Two years ago, he established a two-acre poly-house nursery exclusively for raising vegetable seedlings. He has also set up a nursery unit at Shastry Palya, 14 km away from his first nursery. Here, he has given stress on rainwater harvesting and constructed a pond with a water holding capacity of 80 lakh litres. Seedlings are placed on a raised platform made of mild steel welded mesh, which leads to better growth and quality seedlings, owing to better light availability, aeration, good drainage and reduced pests and diseases. We can also find blue and yellow sticky traps, which protect seedlings from sucking pests, in the nursery.

He also manages a nursery of ornamental and flowering plants and a nursery of capsicum seedlings.

Now he supplies seedlings to not just his neighbouring farmers, but also to growers across Karnataka and other states like
Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Chandigarh. His service does not end at supplying the seedlings. He urges fellow farmers to follow sustainable cultivation practices and helps them
in getting their soil and water quality

An expert that he is now, Prakash is available for suggestions and guidance at any time of the year. He has understood that the growers' success translates to his success.

Of late, nematodes and soil-borne diseases are affecting the plants for which he is planning to opt for grafted vegetable seedlings, which are resistant or tolerant to these problems. One can contact Prakash on 9448306101.

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