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Bhopal's Young Avocado Farmer Makes 1 Crore Annually; Shares Insights for Fellow Farmers

Meet Harshit Godha, a farmer who has turned the idea of avocado farming in Bhopal into a reality with his innovative approach and determination.

Shreetu Singh
Meet Harshit Godha, a farmer who has turned the idea of avocado farming in Bhopal into a reality with his innovative approach and determination.
Meet Harshit Godha, a farmer who has turned the idea of avocado farming in Bhopal into a reality with his innovative approach and determination.

Harshit Godha was born and raised in Bhopal. He pursued Business Studies in the UK from University of Bath between 2013-20. So, from being a business student to becoming a farmer, his journey began with a simple observation. He says, "When I went to the UK for studies, avocados were easily available. As I am inclined towards health and fitness, I started liking the fruit for its richness in nutrients. Soon, I began consuming avocados almost every day. However, whenever I came to India during the summer, I was unable to find good avocados, and the ones available were very expensive." This led Harshit to start avocado farming.  

Discovering Israeli Avocado Farming 

Curious about the cause of the disparity in availability and prices of the fruit, Harshit delved into some research and discovered that the avocados available in the UK are produced in Israel. This led him to contemplate how Israel, a dry and hot country, could cultivate avocados and export them to the European market. Surprised by this fact, he was determined to cultivate avocados in Bhopal, using the same technology. 

Training in Avocado Cultivation

With the motive of bringing avocado cultivation to India, Harshit began contacting the avocado farmers in Israel. During the process, he spoke to many people. Some refused to teach him, and others demanded a lot of money. However, one person agreed to guide him and even arranged for accommodation and food in an Israeli village. Harshit went and stayed there for one and a half months. He says, “We worked in the fields from 5 AM to 10 AM because the heat became unbearable for laborers to work in the afternoon.” Then, he toiled and gained sufficient knowledge of the technology and practices used by Israelis for avocado cultivation.

Overcoming Challenges

After completing his training, Harshit returned to India. However, the biggest hurdle was to analyze the soil condition, water availability, and climate to see if avocado farming was feasible in the local conditions. For this purpose, he invited his mentor from Israel to India at his own expense. Upon arrival, the mentor evaluated the soil and climatic conditions in Bhopal and concluded that some avocado varieties could be grown successfully there. 

But this was not the end of his difficulties. Finding high-quality avocado plants in India was also a challenging task. To combat this, Harshit decided to import avocado varieties suitable for the local climate from Israel in 2019. The import process was long, complicated, and filled with regulations that he needed to follow. He also faced delays in the import process, pushing the shipment to 2020. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and both India and Israel went into a state of lockdown, resulting in another year’s delay. Harshit says, “After so many hurdles, finally in 2021, I received the first shipment of avocado plants from Israel, which I planted in my orchards in 2023. Before that, these plants were kept in the nursery.” The plants started bearing fruit after 14 months of planting.

Interestingly, the irrigation used were - the Netafim drip irrigation system and UniRam (a method of supplying plants with fertilizers through the irrigation system, combining the words fertilizer and irrigation), both imported from Israel. UniRam is a technique that ensures that each plant receives the necessary amount of water and fertilizer every day. Harshit shares, "Avocado is the only crop in India that requires daily fertigation”.

Harshit's Avocado Farm and Nursery
Harshit's Avocado Farm and Nursery

Market Opportunities and More 

At present, Harshit is farming avocados on 10 acres of land with an annual earning of Rs 1 crore. Harshit says, “The price of the plant depends on its age, with one-and-a-half-year-old plants costing Rs 2,500 and two-year-old plants costing Rs 3,000. There is a significant difference between wholesale and retail prices of avocados. In wholesale, it costs Rs 250-300 per kg, while in retail, one avocado costs Rs 200-250. An avocado weighs 250-300 grams. Each plant can bear fruit for 40-50 years. The income depends on the variety, but on average, a person can earn Rs 6-12 lakhs per acre”.

Profitable Farming

In the past three years, avocado imports in India have increased by approximately 400%. Therefore, selling avocados in the market is not an issue. Thus, he advises farmers to experiment with their farming. “Grow crops that can yield maximum profits. Blueberries and avocados are such fruits with a rapidly growing market,” he says.

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