The Captain’s Farm:******
Kulkarni family owned 55 Acres of land near a small village “Nagamthan”/Vaijapur, District Aurangabad, on the banks of Godavari river. By way of inheritance 17.5 Acres of the land came to the ownership of Uday Kulkarni.
Uday Kulkarni was brought up in Pune. He had chosen a sea career in Merchant Navy, had a 36 years of sea service and was a Captainon British Flag Ships for 22 years. He had never been to Nagamthanvillage and naturally had no knowledge of farming.
After taking a voluntary retirement in 2014, Captain Uday visited the farm in Nagamthan and to his dismay found the entire farm in non-cultivation stage, infested with weeds, babul trees with no water source or electricity or any shelter.
There was a choice of selling the land or doing something about it. Uday choose the later. And after systematic planning and hard work of 3 years “Captain’s Farm” was created.
The land was cleared and cleaned. A 62 ft deep and 22 ft diameter well was dug on the banks of Godavari after obtaining the permission to lift the water. A 3.5 km 4 inch pipe line was laid from the well to the farm. A second well was dug in the farm and a storage reservoir (Shettal) covering an area of 2 acres and 50 ft depth was created which could store more than 3,0000000 litre water, sufficient to cater the farm. After checking the soil samples and water testing it was decided to plant guava trees in a dense orchid formation. 10000 saplings of Lucknow-49 (Sardar) and Jay Vilas variety were procured from Lucknow and Pirens( Bhaubuleshar) nurseries and were planted in area covering 12 acres. A system of drip irrigation was established. To protect the trees from deer and animals, electric fencing using solar power was erected around entire farm. For stable electric power 100HP transformer (D.P.) and related cabling was installed in the farm. Storage Sheds, cow sheds, servant rooms, toilet/bathrooms were built. Farm equipment consisting of tractor, cultivator, roto-vector, trolleys, spray machines were procured. A system of dispensing natural fertiliser called “Jiva-Amrut” (cow urine+ cow dung+ jaggary + gram powder) through drip irrigation was installed. To bring up the quality of soil more than 40 trucks ( 320 Tons) of manure - “shenkhat “ was dispensed in the farm. Four tons of Neem seeds were procured, grinded and dispensed in the farm to eliminate the unwanted bacteria and pests. For insecticide spray a 5% solution consisting of (neem oil + karanj oil + cow urine) was used at regular intervals. Traps to protect the plants from fruit fly and stem bore were installed in the entire area.
The net result 2 years after the plantation, was a sweet, tasty, fruits are produced without chemical fertilisers .Produced with organic imputes .fruit with average weight of 300-350 gm. An organic certification of international standard now in the process of application and expected to receive in next 2-3 years after due checks and verifications by the certifying authorities. However, the fruits can be checked at any stage for the chemical contents as we are confident that there will be no traces of unwanted chemicals/fertilisers and pesticides.
AGW, it is estimated that this year harvesting will produce 2500 to 3000 crates weighing 20kg/each and by next 2 years the production will reach 10000 crates/year. To avoid damage to the fruits, a fruit sleeve will be used when the fruits are packed in crates and the transportation will be by road using self-owned truck to ensure prompt delivery in Aurangabad, Pune or Vashi area.
There are plans to install pulp making machinery to utilize the ripen fruits which are not suitable for transportation.
More than a commercial venture, the philosophy and purpose of the farm is to create a source of a good quality fruit and at the same time improve the livelihood for those who are putting huge efforts in creating the farm. Accordingly, facilities were created at the farm for the labours anda certain portion of revenue and benefits will be passed on to those who are involved in establishing and running the farm.