Nearly 10,000 farmers in Bundelkhand, Azamgarh in UP India grow Tulsi for the International Markets – Indian Express January 30, 2009

IT WASN”T the whiff of money but faith in the small, inconspicuous plant in his courtyard that nudged Kailash Nath Singh, now 87, to venture into something unheard of more than a decade ago.

When ORGANIC INDIA, then Indo-Israel Trading Corporation (IITC), asked him to take up organic cultivation (without the use of chemicals and fertilizers) of Tulsi or Indian Basil, Kailash, bogged down by low yield from his farm and debts, was wary.

“Although the idea of cultivating Tulsi sounded strange initially, I nonetheless accepted the offer. My skepticism changed to confidence once I saw how the firm operated,” Kailash says.

For information on the amazing TULSI properties of please click on the Video link in side bar – Organic India

The risk taken by the 75-year-old did pay rich dividends. And as kailash’s income rose, many farmers eagerly followed in his footsteps.

OI took a different approach. It decided it would bear the cost of production, and the risks of crop failure and market volatility. Farmers were to only tend and harvest the crop. In short, each one contributes according to his ability. An OI supplier contributes only what he owns — half-acre plot, labour and farm wastes.

Now, over 10,000 farmers in the drought-hit districts of Bundelkhand, besides Azamgarh and Mau districts in the eastern UP, are cultivating Tulsi as a cash crop in addition to their routine agricultural practices. They are producing more than 2,000 tonnes of Tulsi annually from over 1,000 acres of land.

Motivating the farmers wasn’t difficult after my success story and when farmers came to know of the firm’s approach, says Kailash. The Lucknow-based firm decided to bear the cost of production as also the risks of crop failure and market volatility. Farmers were to only tend and harvest the crop. In short, each one contributes according to his ability. For the past ten years, in fact, the farmers have been paid even when the produce wasn’t good enough due to adverse climatic conditions or pest attack.

What more, their produce fetches them eight times more than the market value. If the rate of Tulsi is Rs. 10 to Rs. 15 per kilo in the market, the firm buys it for, say, Rs. 80 to Rs. 90 per kilo.

For ORGANIC INDIA, too, the benefits are equally large. “This is because these farmers are producing pure organic Tulsi, which fulfills the specifications of international market,” said Krishan Guptaa, the CEO and Managing Director of ORGANIC INDIA.

The production cost for the farmers, too, has gone down as they do not need to spend in chemical fertilizers. They do not have to worry about selling their produce either. The company not only provides them with organic manure but also reaches the field to buy the produce. The farmers have crop security because the company is a guaranteed buyer of their produce.

“The crop season is from January to June when the farmers are assisted by field managers and technical managers of the company for best yield,” adds Guptaa.

Meanwhile, the Tulsi growers of UP have another task at hand these days – to supply one million saplings of Tulsi for planting around Taj Mahal to check pollution. They have already handed more than 20,000 saplings on Republic Day to the district administration of Agra.

Tulsi Mahotsav

AN agricultural festival called the Tulsi Mahotsav that celebrates the wonder herb Tulsi (holy basil) is held in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh every year. Organised by ORGANIC INDIA with its Tulsi farmers, the festival is held at the onset of winter. It seeks to honour Tulsi and pay tribute to Tulsi farmers who have converted the ravaged soil into fields of prosperity. This is the only festival in the world which celebrates the queen of herbs.

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About dilipnaidu

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are reading, music, growing culinary herbs, playing golf and yoga. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

7 responses »

  1. krishna says:

    very happy to see this program and request you kindly guide andhra pradesh farmers about Tulasi farming details.

    with regards,
    krishna
    wegro

  2. Ashok Periwal says:

    I am very much interested to organic tulsi projects. I want to start it as soon as possible. I have about 100 hctrs of land in Arunachal pradesh. But I don’t have any idea about the same. So please help me in this regard.

  3. Sanjèev choubey says:

    I am interested in tuls farming in azamgarh.or any other herbs for livelihood.

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