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How This Chai-Wala Turned His Fortune by Adopting Aloe Vera Farming, Now Earns in Lakhs

Ajay Swamy, a tea stall owner in Rajasthan, read about aloe vera in the newspaper and started aloe vera farming and now earns lakhs by selling 45 products.

Shruti Kandwal
Although growing aloe vera looked like a good idea, Ajay lacked the resources needed to get started.
Although growing aloe vera looked like a good idea, Ajay lacked the resources needed to get started.

Ajay Swamy, a 31-year-old from the village of Parlika in the Hanumangarh area of Rajasthan, has no prior experience in farming. He was left with little more than two bighas of land that belonged to his father.

He said, "One morning, I read about aloe vera in the newspaper and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to produce it. Although growing aloe vera looked like a good idea, Ajay lacked the resources needed to get started.

The young boy had to take over control of his family after his father passed away after finishing his schooling up to class 8. In an effort to support himself and his mother, he began selling tea in 1999 for Rs 10 a cup.

He claimed, "The business was highly profitable." But Ajay was aware that if he wanted a better life, he needed to aim higher.

His motivation was always simple: "What can I do to improve my financial condition at home?"

Starts his own business

Ajay wondered, "Why not use the two bighas of land and start growing the plant," after reading the aloe vera story in the newspaper.

Although he claims the income from the tea business was great, he frequently considered that he shouldn't allow such a good piece of property to go to waste and instead should honor his late father by using the location for something beneficial. Aloe vera seemed a novel thing to him.

Ajay started researching and talking to farmers in his community about aloe vera and how to cultivate it in order to learn more about the plant. He discovered through these interactions that growing aloe vera does not need a lot of water. This, he believed, was wonderful news because Rajasthan frequently had droughts, making it difficult to grow a crop that was largely reliant on water.

Ajay was unsure about where to find the seeds or saplings to start, even though he had all the knowledge he required on how to develop the plant.

People informed Ajay about a cemetery in the nearby village of Churu, where there were several saplings of this plant, when he first started asking about it. "After a person in that village had been buried, someone had planted an aloe vera sapling there. Aloe vera spread as more people started to grow the sapling.”

This did not sit well with the people. They intended to remove the plant and clean up the graveyard because it had taken over most of the area.

When Ajay heard of this, he and a small group of his village neighbors used a tractor and trolley to transport the aloe vera plants from the graveyard to his fields, where he replanted them.

He claimed to have used high-quality fertilizer and soil for the plants, and he researched a lot online about how to take care of aloe vera. He explains, "I made sure the plants got adequate sunshine and that the leaves were high above the ground.”

However, as this was Ajay's first attempt in farming, he did not have high expectations. Alongside, he maintained operating his tea store.

He used the money he had saved from his tea company to develop his aloe vera supply. He was pleasantly surprised a year and a half later. Ajay had no idea the crop would grow as wonderfully as it did.

In 2002, he stopped operating his tea shop as the success of his farming appeared to be near. But according to Ajay, he was constantly concerned about where people were selling the plant even while he was planting and cultivating the aloe vera.

As a result, he started looking for purchasers as soon as he got his harvest.

A profitable business that puts health first

Ajay says he is happy he picked the right plant as he looks back on his choice to build an aloe vera farm and later a full-fledged business out of it.

"Aloe vera can be grown for a reasonable price and produces a good harvest even in sandy soil. Little water is needed for it. In one bigha, 800 aloe vera plants can be sown.”

He talks about how the business improved his life and expresses his joy that more people are beginning to recognize the value of aloe vera.

"Aloe vera is well known for its health benefits, and this is nothing new. It's been used for years by our elders," he claims.

Ajay recalls eating aloe vera laddus as a child and claims that he experimented with them during the lockdown. He explains, "They came out well, and I'm now creating and selling two kinds of laddus.”

In fact, for Rs 350 per kilogram, these laddus are his best-selling item.

According to Ajay, innovation is the key to every farmer's success in the industry. "If you stay still and don't try anything new, you slowly start to slip behind."

Ajay suggests taking extra care of these plants during the winter months because this is a period when the climate may be unfavorable for the plant. This advice is for farmers who wish to begin aloe vera production.

"The crop can start preparing in as little as three to six months, though it sometimes takes a full year."

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