Banker-turned-farmer Sankalp Sharma Leave His Job to To Practice Zero-Budget Organic Farming
My ancestors were farmers, and my family has been into agriculture for quite a long time now.
Meet banker-turned-farmer Sankalp Sharma who has been experimenting with natural farming for more than a year, and is very satisfied with his new occupation.
How easy or hard is it for a mechanical engineer and MBA graduate to give up a good-paying job in the banking sector to take something as uncertain and precarious up as agriculture? “Not simple at all. People who have quit jobs might understand what it feels like when the salary ceases coming in.
My ancestors were farmers, and my family has been into agriculture for quite a long time now. From a large parcel of land in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, on which conventional farming is practiced by his family, Sankalp chose a 10-acre area and began work with his father in July 2015 after he leaves. Now, he is a full-time farmer.
I felt my life was getting monotonous when I was banking, and I liked to break that cycle. I needed to do something where I could try and through which I could subsequently give back to society,” he says.
The 36-year old entered the field to experiment with a single motive – with ways in which he could farm without using compounds which are normally considered essential in conventional farming techniques, pesticides, and fertilizers.
“Natural farming is all about intercropping and also the production or input signal cost will likely be zero,” explains Sankalp. “Nothing needs to be bought from the exterior, and everything needed for the development of harvests is available around their roots. There is a misconception which you need certainly to use pesticides, fertilizers, and insecticides. There's absolutely no need because our earth is booming and packed with nutriments to add anything from outside. Plants take 95-98% nutrients from the air, water, and solar energy.”
Sankalp also saw with him and attended a seminar a few times to understand natural farming. In this process, farmers also use locally available natural biodegradable substances as natural pesticides and fertilizers. So that they plant legumes for making the earth nitrogen-rich, rotate crops to control pests and renew the soil, compost waste to use as fertilizers, etc. Things like cow pee and neem leaves act as insecticides, and cow dung functions as fertilizer.
With endless experimentation and learning, this year grew all sorts of pulses, onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, tomatoes, and maize. Another goal that Sankalp wants to fulfill with agriculture is always to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers. I believe agriculture is the only real business where the raw material is purchased at a retail price and also the produce is sold at wholesale price. What farmers sell for Rs. 2-3 per kg in the wholesale market, then gets sold at Rs. 20-25 in the retail market. Beginning with his neighboring villages, he plans to expand his work, as well as wants to educate people about healthy food habits later on.
The 36-year old had to face several challenges. The most critical one being the volatile weather resulting in frequent chances of crop failure. For someone with my history, there is always the substitute for stop and go back to the corporate world. But stay favorable and to not stop trying in such times was important for me,” he says, assured that his efforts would pay off. My work is in a formative phase, but I am certain that 2-3 years down the line, things will fall into place. I am very content and excited about my work. I have never appreciated it before.”
He's also come across many, notably his batch mates from faculty, who want to learn how they can go about starting something similar and welcome this move.
“I constantly say that this is about taking calculated risks. When folks have a lot of liabilities in life – there are loans, etc., you need to be brave, especially now And you also need to truly have a good support system around you. Before you take any such step, you and your loved ones should talk with and take them into self-confidence too. But most importantly, you should be confident about yourself he reasons.