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BORIAVI (ANAND): Devesh Patel, 30, graduated in computer applications in 2005. But the idea of flying off to the US didn’t attract him. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a farmer, returning to the land of his forefathers — Anand’s Boriavi village.
Until recently, Devesh’s father Ramesh, 56, suffered from chronic breathing problems induced by the chemical fertilizers he used. Nausea and headaches were part of life. “Only when his health worsened did my father realize that increasing yield wasn’t everything. There’s no point making money if one can’t enjoy it. We switched to organic farming,” Devesh says. They shifted to Anand Agricultural University’s newly developed liquid biofertilizer (LBF). That changed their lives.
“Dharti maa chhe (Earth is our mother),” Devesh says.”A farmer should give her what she deserves. My father doesn’t fall sick now. Hundreds of farmers in Gujarat are living healthier lives, largely because of AAU.”Devesh uses 70 litres of LBF a year on his 4ha. “The health of the soil has improved. Chemical fertilizers cost up to Rs 28,000 per ha for crops such as sweet potato and ginger. LBF has cut my cost to below Rs 4,000/ha,”he says. Proprietor of an organic brand, he supplies potato chips, turmeric and ginger powder to retail stores, earning Rs 30-40 lakh annually.