In a drought-prone region like Vidarbha in Maharashtra, mostly in the news for water scarcity and farmer suicide, it is not every day that you hear the success story of a farmer. That's why the story of Savi Thangavel, 69, a resident of Mohegaon village which is just 22 km from Nagpur, is special. He took up date farming when nobody even thought about it and became the first successful date farmer in the region.
In 2009, Thangavel retired from his government job and was interested in farming. He purchased the land, made a house and started regular farming like soybean, wheat, etc. Initially, it was not easy as Mohegaon's soil was laterite and contained rocks. To improve agricultural production, he put the pond soil from the nearby pond on his land but whatever he produced became food for wild animals like wild boars and deer.
He was looking for an alternative and after doing some research and talking to some farmers in Tamil Nadu, he decided to do date farming. In 2009, he bought 130 tissue culture date plants and planted them in his two-acre land. He took good care of his plants and in the fourth year, the plant began to bear fruit. According to Thangavel, he chose date farming because there was no danger to the date saplings from wild animals and it required less water as compared to other crops.
Initially, the harvest per tree was 25-30 kg but gradually it increased to 100 kg. “In the first harvest itself, I got my investment back”, says Thangavel.
In less than a decade, he has purchased 25 acres of land and planted 300 date plants. Each tree now produces around 100 kg of dates. He sells dates at a price of Rs 200 per kg to local customers.
The total investment for date farming in an acre of land is approximately Rs 4 lakh. This video “Thangavel finds success in date farming” shows how Thangavel became a successful farmer in a drought-prone region.