Back to Bharat: A techie leaves coding to milking, Apart from dairying
Mangaluru, June 8:After serving Infosys for 15 years in India and abroad, Shankar Kotian thought of starting something of his own a few years ago. With the experience and expertise, he could have come out with a start-up in technology field. But, he chose to venture into the real field in rural India in 2013. The eight-acre farm and dairy at Moodu-Konaje village near Moodbidri town of Dakshina Kannada district is his work platform now.
Like a start-up
Explaining his journey from coding to farming during Business Line correspondent’s visit to his farm, he said it was like launching a start-up for him. After preparing the business plan, he knew that dairying is going to be profitable. “I also knew that it will take time to break-even,” he said. Then he had two choices — one was slow ramp up of the venture, and the second one was a big bang implementation of his plan.
Since he had zero experience in farming and dairying, he adopted slow ramp up of his venture. With five cows he began his dairy farming journey in 2013. It was a tough first year for him, as he had to oversee the construction of dairy, rearing of cows and other farm activities.
Kotian, who rears 39 cows now, said that dairying will help him earn money from this month onward. In May, he had 10 cows that had calves.
For the last six-seven months, it was no-profit, no-loss proposition. Now, Kotian supplies 200 litres of milk a day to the milk cooperative society in his village.
On the reason for choosing dairying, he said milk is the only product where the farmer gets nearly 80 per cent of the retail value. Since it is being operated on a cooperative model, there is no middleman in marketing the product, he said.
As Kotian’s farm land is located on a slope, he decided to make best use of the elevation. Accordingly, he established the dairy on the top of the slope. This helped him to supply slurry and waste water collected from the dairy to the farm land located on the lower portion of the slope through gravitational force. He started growing elephant grass on the lower portion of the slope to meet the requirement of his cows.
He constructed a water pond in the lower most portion of the slope for rainwater harvesting.
Kotian said that gobar gas plant attached to the dairy meets the kitchen fuel requirements of his family and labour quarters.
Apart from using slurry for his farm, he sells the excess slurry for areca nut plantation owners. Last year, he sold around 150 loads of slurry with each load measuring around 2,000 liters.
A firm believer in organic farming and Subhash Palekar’s natural farming, he is not using chemical fertilizers or herbicides/pesticides in his farm. Apart from dairying, he also cultivates vegetables and paddy.
Asked was there any apprehension when he opted for dairying, leaving a plush job in a tech company, Kotian said he had strong backup from the family, especially from his wife. “We were ready to downgrade our lifestyle also,” he said.
Kotian, who spent two-thirds of the 15-year Infosys journey in overseas assignments, said he enjoys dairying the most as he is his own boss here.
Source : The Hindu Business Line