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Meet the Millionaire Farmer: Vishal Katre’s Farming Practices are Rooted in Technical Expertise

In the following interview, he emphasizes that farmers should prioritize their land, seed availability, and local climatic conditions when choosing crops to cultivate. This strategic focus can result in higher profits.

Shreetu Singh
Meet the Millionaire Farmer: Vishal Katre’s Farming Practices are Rooted in Technical Expertise
Meet the Millionaire Farmer: Vishal Katre’s Farming Practices are Rooted in Technical Expertise

Vishal Katre, hailing from Balagha, Madhya Pradesh, was bestowed with the title of ‘Millionaire Field Crops Farmer of India’ by Krishi Jagran for his cultivation of paddy across his 130 acres of land, both owned and leased. He has been involved in farming for 22 years and earns over 1 crore per year. Apart from production, Vishal is also engaged in seed production of paddy and provides employment to neighboring farmers through community farming initiatives. He believes that focusing on both quantity and quality is equally important for profitability, which is why he shifted to community farming. Read On. 

Bridging Tradition with Technology

Vishal pursued post-graduation in the field of rural economy till 2001. Besides, his family has been engaged in agriculture for generations. He says, "When I returned after completing my education, there was negligible use of technology, and our agricultural land was in a very poor condition. Being vigilant about these issues, I decided to introduce modern technology in my village to improve the lives of the people."

Transforming Agriculture in Balagh

Before embarking on any agricultural improvements, it was essential to strengthen transportation services. Therefore, Vishal along with a few fellow farmers worked to construct a road. Shortly, this development was followed by the introduction of machinery. Next, the focus was on the fields, for which they borrowed tractors and laser levelers to prepare the land. Subsequently, they acquired a rotavator, thresher, and harvester. However, their most significant achievement was the paddy transplanter, capable of transplanting approximately 8-9 acres in a day.

Following this, their attention shifted to seed management. Vishal explains, "Paddy fields suffer from weed influences like Karga and Lambda. To combat this issue, we established a nursery, which attracted other farmers. Over time, they also joined us, and we began providing them with seeds while teaching them nursery techniques." Vishal mentioned that he conducted transplantations for these farmers too. 

A Collaborative Approach

To sell their produce to companies and markets, Vishal along with his team of farmers conducted meetings, and their products were sold at a price fixed by the majority. As their leader, Vishal received a procurement charge of 50-100 rupees per quintal. This became a significant source of income for him. At present, over 70-80 farmers are working with him across over 300 acres of land.

Vishal stated that his initiative of seed production has proven beneficial. If paddy is sold in the market as it is, one might receive, for instance, Rs 2185. However, if a farmer also produces seeds, the profit margin increases to Rs 300-400 per quintal, allowing the farmer to sell at Rs. 2500 per quintal. This results in a saving of Rs 10,000 per acre.

Government Support 

The acquisition of large machines was made possible through a central government scheme called custom hiring, initiated in 2011. Vishal received a subsidy of 9 lakh rupees under this scheme. Additionally, he obtained a subsidy of 5 lakh rupees for the transplantation machine.

Notably, Vishal is also the director of an FPO - Balaghat Rural Livelihood Seed Producer Company Limited. This FPO caters to seed production. He says, “The District Collector helped me and others join in after considering the work on seeds.” 

Waste Management and Sustainable Practices

Vishal collects paddy residue after harvesting and repurposes it as cattle feed. To facilitate this, he has acquired a baler, which enables him to produce bales of paddy straw. These bales are sold in the market at approximately Rs 200 per bale, resulting in an annual earning of 10 lakh rupees.

Vishal proudly mentioned receiving the Waste Management Award from ICAR in 2019, specifically the Zonal Award under the National Jagjivan Ram Innovative Farmer Award. This recognition shows the significance of his efforts in waste management within the agricultural sector. Moreover, he highlighted the expansion of his project, with companies like Reliance joining forces to obtain biofertilizers, marking the growing impact of his sustainable practices.

Vishal Khatre receiving National Jagjivan Ram Innovative Farmer Award for his unique idea of paddy waste management
Vishal Khatre receiving National Jagjivan Ram Innovative Farmer Award for his unique idea of paddy waste management

Advice to the Farmers

Vishal emphasized that farmers must prioritize their land, seed availability, and the climatic conditions of their area while deciding on cultivation. This strategic approach can lead to increased profits. He stressed upon the importance of focusing on one's resources and capabilities, suggesting farmers concentrate on one crop and ensure clarity in basics. Despite the abundance of information available, Vishal urges farmers not only to learn but also to apply practical knowledge.

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