Nestled in Maruthomkara village of Kozhikode, Kerala’s K T Francis runs a lush organic farm where he grows different varieties of coconut, pepper, and areca nut.

Hailing from a farming family, the 65-year-old always had a fascination for agriculture. So, he immediately turned to farming after his retirement.

“Retirement is not the end of life. It is a chance to open doors to the things we love. Agriculture has never been my hobby. It’s more like a habit I can’t let go of,” says Francis, who retired as a physical education teacher in 2015.

His ancestral farm already had a few kuttiadi coconut trees that were 120 years old and known for producing healthy tender coconuts.

“I planted more of those along with areca nut, pepper, turmeric, ginger, tapioca, yam, and many other vegetables. This mixed farming technique gave great results and I began earning lakhs from it,” he shares.

The 250 coconut palms on his land give at least 200 seeds per year. “Coconut seedling is the most profitable business right now,” says the agripreneur.

Witnessing his success, employees of Krishi Bhavan encouraged him to start a garden nursery to sell kuttiadi coconut tree saplings.

Today, his Kaithakulath Coconut Nursery exclusively sells this variety. He says that Kaithakulath is the only Government-accredited nursery in Kerala that sells just this coconut variety.

Arecanut and pepper are the other two major crops on Francis’ farm. He explains that after two and a half years of planting areca nut seedlings, he plants pepper beneath them.

There are a total of 1,000 black pepper vines on the farm. As pepper is one of the most expensive spices, Francis earns a lot of income from it.

He has also installed bee hives on his farm to protect the coconut trees and harvest honey for commercial purposes.

After incurring input expenses of Rs 5-8 lakh, the organic farmer shares he earns anywhere between Rs 15 and Rs 35 lakh per year depending on the market demand.