Housing the green concept

Jayant Ghosh refuses to step into stereotypes. He is a farmer who struts about in Wrangler jeans and Reid & Tailor shirts in his farm. He has shunned traditional crops and taken to capsicum, abandoned conventional farming to cultivate in a greenhouse. On the outskirts of Piska, a village near Ranchi in Jharkhand, Ghosh is busy sowing a concept that is new to the state: greenhouse cultivation.

While such tech-based farming is prevalent in states like Gujarat and Maharashtra, it has not taken root in Jharkhand yet. That didn't stop Ghosh from experimenting. Armed with a diploma in business management from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, he came across the concept at HARP, a subsidiary of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, which is engaged in taking the technology from laboratory to farms.

So in June last year, Ghosh set up Maati Agrotech Private Ltd, with Ayush Khemka, a graduate from Delhi University, as its managing director. Khemka leased out two acres of his father's barren land, where Ghosh has set up three greenhouses to grow green, yellow and red capsicum, even exotic vegetables like broccoli, French beans and cherry tomatoes.

Nearly 22,000 capsicum plants were raised in the greenhouses, each spread over 3,000 sq m and 6.5-metre high. Now, he is ready to replace them and add two more greenhouses to raise 70,000 plants in summer, which is likely to shoot up the production from 250 kg to 800 kg per day.

Each greenhouse is especially designed to maintain an optimum temperature, wind velocity and humidity for the plants. "To keep the plants free from infection, we are planning to use fans," says Ghosh. Grown in rows of specially prepared ridges, each plant is supported by a plastic rope tied with its steel roof and provided water through drips. "The drips are also used to provide necessary nutrients," says Khemka.

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