"I had cultivated coriander on 20 gunthas of land (0.4 acre approx). I faced losses with all the other vegetables I had grown last year. But coriander has saved me."
The humble coriander, a garnishing herb that is mandatory in a majority of Indian households, is earning Pune farmers profits in lakhs!
Grocery purchases are usually incomplete without a bundle of coriander when buying the bunch at a meagre Rs 5 seems like splurging. The same herb has been a life saver for several Pune farmers!
This season has been exceptionally profitable for these farmers who grow other crops along with this herb.
Savleram Nana Kute is one such farmer from the Pimpri Pendher village in Pune. This year, he invested Rs 2 lakh on his coriander farm and earned Rs 13.5 lakh in a week!
Speaking to The Times of India, he said, “In the past decade, I have never got such good returns from coriander. For the past two years, I have been growing tomatoes, leafy vegetables and summer fruits like watermelon and muskmelon, but I never made so much money due to the low prices in the market. In fact, a few months ago, I had to throw away hundreds of crates of tomatoes due to market fluctuations and suffered heavy losses.”
Rajaram Deshmukh, the Vice-Chancellor of the Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (Agricultural College), observes that the season’s profits are largely due to the wide gap in supply and demand.
Water shortage due to scanty rainfalls in a few villages has led to a poor harvest. Adding to this, the exceptionally cold winters have stunted the growth further.
“Growth of vegetables is affected when the temperature drops below 10 degree Celsius. In recent times, the night temperatures have been low in many parts of the state. This must have adversely affected the vegetable harvest,” he added.
Just as the climatic conditions are affecting the harvest, market rates for coriander are skyrocketing–a bundle which would be previously sold between Rs 5 to 10, is now demanding anywhere between Rs 30-50.
And this is where farmers are benefitting.
Kamlakar Wajge, another coriander farmer from Pune who earned Rs 2 lakh this year from his harvest, says, “Vegetable production shortage is unusual during the winter. But this year, the scenario is different. Many farmers could not grow several vegetables because of a water shortage. Now, there is a gap in demand and supply. This has resulted in an unprecedented price escalation for coriander in the market.”
Explaining how this unusual season saved him from a huge loss, Satish Dombale told TOI, “I had cultivated coriander on 20 gunthas of land (0.4 acre approx). I faced losses with all the other vegetables I had grown last year. But coriander has saved me. I can now use this capital to grow more vegetables in the coming months.”
Innovative farming and investing in uncommon crops has usually spelt success for farmers. You can read more such inspirational stories in our agriculture section here.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)