He masters farming jugglery

Belagavi beat

Anand Nerli hires helpers to harvest marigolds twice a week, transports and sells them to the Mumbai Flower Market.

It takes a lot of grime and sweat, toiling and planning in the making of a success story.

Anand Mallikarjun Nerli’s story is one such. A few smart measures, simple calculations, planning and execution have guaranteed him success.

Horticulture, dairy farming and livestock form the highlights of his mantra, and have ensured him a steady weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly incomes.

Nerli hails from Gudasa village of Hukkeri taluk in Belagavi district. The district being home to sugarcane, turmeric, maize, flowers, fruits and vegetables, is also popular for abundant green fodder, providing sample scope for dairy farming in the region.

After his basic education, Nerli decided to embrace agriculture to earn his bread. He has utilised the available resources on his two-and-a-half acres of land, with water drawn from a borewell and an open-well being diverted towards drip irrigation.

Striking it rich with mari’gold’

On an acre of land, Nerli has sown the orange and the yellow variety of marigolds, along with green chillies, in a zig-zag pattern, and fortifies the crops with a regular supply of liquid manure and nutrients.

When the demand for flowers picks pace in market, Nerli hires helpers to harvest marigolds twice a week, transports and sells them to the Mumbai Flower Market. The amount received from the sale of flowers gets deposited directly into his account. “Say, I receive Rs 80 per kg. After deducting helpers’ salary, transportation and other expenditure, I can still save up to Rs 60,” he explains.

Nerli does not harvest the entire field in one go. He studies the market scenario and then goes for subsequent rounds of harvesting. Every week, two tonnes of flowers are harvested, which keeps him engaged every quarterly.

Raising livestock

Nerli’s livestock comprises 10 HF cows, two Jerseys, a good number of native bovines, 4 buffaloes and 2 Killari oxens, which graze in an open yard spread over 2,000 square feet in his fields.

Green leaves and stalks of sugarcane and maize are dumped in the open yard to form a super-rich feed for the cattle. The leftover leaves and reeds get naturally processed with urine and dung of the livestock, to form a bed of manure and soil nutrient, and this technique is repeated every two months. Since the cattle are left in the open, there are seldom any chances of them falling sick, says Nerli.

Every year, at least 20 tonnes of silage fodder is available in his fields. Silage fodder, cotton seeds, cow-dung cakes, corn starch, and dry fodder are fed to the livestock. Every day, 150 litres of milk are produced and Nerli earns Rs 21 per litre of milk sold to KMF, including the support price. While the production cost of a litre of milk is Rs 12, the remainder is the profit he has earned.

Once the flowers are harvested, veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, fenugreek and coriander are cultivated as per the climatic conditions and the demands of the market, as inter-crops. The short- duration cover crops are harvested thrice a year and the inter-crops are harvested four times a year.

Popular variety

On the rest of the land, Nerli has sown jowar, maize, Napier grass, sugarcane and millets, as long-term crops. He has cultivated the 93V98 variety of sugarcane and each cane weighs at least 1.5 kg. Since it’s a new variety, Nerli believes that after acclimatisation, the crop is expected to yield a good harvest.

Sweet corn is cultivated as an inter-crop along with sugarcane. Once the corns are harvested and sold, the leaves and stalks are used in the preparation of silage fodder.

Greens and vegetables help Nerli meet his family’s every-day expenses. Dairy farming has ensured monthly income, while the income generated from the sale of flowers fills his coffers every quarterly. The profit earned from sugar cane is converted into annual deposit.

“By opting for multi-and-inter crop cultivation, my hands are full throughout the year. I am able to recover what I have invested and am generating a decent profit. Crop composition, constant survey and inspection, and swift decisions have not failed my expectations,” expresses Nerli.

Nerli’s spouse Anitha, his siblings Mahesh and Vidya, and father Mallikarjun join hands in sharing the responsibilities. Nerli can be contacted on 97424 04243.

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