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Thursday, December 8, 2022

How Gujarat farmer Purushottam Sidhpara earned in crores with his unique marketing idea

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Purushottam Sidhpara reduced his input costs by 40% and water usage by 20%, by switching to organic farming. In doing so he earned export orders from 10 countries.

Purushottam Sidhpara is one of many farmers in India, who practise organic farming. Aside from the high quality and organic component of his product, what distinguishes this 50-year-old farmer’s farming is his marketing technique. Sidhpara inherited his father’s farms in Jamka village in Gujarat’s Saurashtra area when he was 18 years old and has grown the business significantly over the years.

Sidhpara sells practically everything in India and ten other nations, including grains, pulses, spices, vegetables, and fruits. When it comes to his marketing plan, most people are sceptical of his claims that he has never spent a penny on web marketing. His kind friendliness is what he employs.

The story of how Sidhpara came up with this unusual selling concept concerns a local drought-resistance project that captured the nation’s attention 20 years ago. Drought was a severe challenge and the cause of agricultural losses in Junagadh’s Jamka village until 1999. That year, the villagers banded together to raise finances for the construction of small dams and reservoirs to hold rainfall.

Purshotam Sidhpara recalls, “We raised Rs 45,00,000 and built 55 small dams and five ponds for a hamlet population of 3,000. The Gujarat government embraced our technique and plans to replicate it in other water-stressed areas.”

He says, “For nearly a year, experts, students, water activists, and members of the media gathered to our town to investigate the data. People wanted to buy crops, veggies, and spices straight from us after eating my cooking. We were engaging with clients directly for the first time, as our business strategy had previously been B2B [business to business]. Visitors returned and informed their friends and family about my farm, and my business developed by word of mouth.”

Sidhpara’s current annual revenue is Rs 2 crore, and he has customers in the countries ranging from United States, to UAE, and Ethiopia.  Sidhpara observes that the slogan of inviting consumers is only effective if the agricultural method and practises used are meticulous, sincere, and error-free.

He discusses how switching from chemical farming to organic farming increased his income dramatically, as well as water-saving techniques and recommendations for growing nutrient-rich crops. Sidhpara was destined and motivated to enter the agricultural field because it was a family occupation

As an 18-year-old, he had many ideas, the most of which derived from his studies. He discovered an organic agricultural system.

Sidpara explains, “My father used both chemicals and cow dung to cultivate the crops, but I wanted to avoid the chemicals.”

Prior to switching, his revenues were tiny, and any profits had to be spent in acquiring herbicides and pesticides for the next crop cycle. He argues that the family’s income was comparable to that of a farm labourer.

Sidhpara recreated the forest model, which allows plants to thrive with little interference. He began by planting fruit trees such as custard apple, mango, coconut, and papaya. He planted crops such as jowar, bajra, maize, and spices such as coriander, chilli, jeera, and others in between these trees.

According to him, there are 15-18 important elements for optimal soil management. Forests thrive on their own by absorbing nutrients from biomass. Cow dung contains billions of helpful bacteria that breakdown the dried biomass on the soil and transform it into plant nutrients.  Nutrients including carbon, phosphate, and potassium, etc. can also be found in faeces. He devised an anaerobic recipe for producing organic fertiliser, in which he deposits cow dung, jaggery, buttermilk, and rice water in a digester to produce a liquid-based spray. This mixture, combined with water, is sprayed directly over the roots.

Furthermore, the natural mulching process is advantageous. He utilises the dried leaves and wheat husk to coat the ground instead of burning them. This aids in the retention of moisture and the cooling of the ground.

He added, “Once I switched to organic fertiliser, my input expenses dropped by over 40%. Meanwhile, the mulching technology reduced my water consumption by over 20%. The micro-irrigation system also aids with water conservation.”

Sidhpara’s income increased nearly fivefold as a result of these modest efforts, and the proceeds were reinvested in the production of value-added products such as pickle, chutney, chyawanprash, ghee (from milk’s cow), groundnut and sesame oil, wheat flour, dals, and so on. This, he argues, increased his profits by 15%.

Sidhpara’s harvest and value-added products must be bought in advance, around each crop’s harvesting season, unlike internet portals where clients may place purchases directly with no waiting period.

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