Agri-entrepreneurship in Odisha: Leading the Path to Prosperity

In Nabarangpur, a district known for its extreme poverty in the state of Odisha, agri-entrepreneurship is proving to be a promising solution for tackling poverty and cultivating difficult lands.

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A farmer in the midst of harvested maize in Nabarangapur district's Umerkote town in south Odisha. | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout
A farmer in the midst of harvested maize in Nabarangapur district’s Umerkote town in south Odisha. | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

Sujit Das, 40, does not wear the clothes or carry the implements traditionally associated with farmers in India. He is in a T-shirt, jeans, and sports shoes, and sits in a room with a desk and chair in his modest house in Umerkote, in Odisha’s Nabarangpur district. From here he manages 20 acres of land and controls the flow of agricultural workers, mostly tribal people from the area.

He steps out to survey the drip irrigation system that administers precise amounts of water and fertilizer across one acre of tomato crop. “By grafting tomato onto brinjal, I get 50-100% greater produce,” he says, adding that he is expecting a bountiful harvest of 1,000 kg of tomatoes per day over the next two months. Across his land, where he grows cabbage, cauliflower, chilies, bitter gourd, and other vegetables, he also has a duck farm and a hatchery. Integrated farming protects him from potential crop failure and sometimes from volatile wholesale prices.

Tarah Nguyen