24 Good Businesses 2012

Income and bonus

Bhushan Agro’s unique lease-your-land concept is quietly gaining      acceptance among farmers — no mean achievement in a country where land is dearer than lives

TUSHAR MANE

Thera-theri, population 1,500, lies 160 km from Bhopal on NH 86. It could be any village in central India though. Thera-theri has fertile land and fresh air but pucca roads and tap water are conspicuous only by their absence. Farming is the primary source of income here. Beedi-making comes a close second. Neither fetches much money and villagers compensate by working at construction sites for₹100 per day. Which is why last winter’s harvest was a marvellous shock for Shivram Sahu, a local farmer who owns three acres of land in Thera-theri. Not only did Sahu’s wheat output double last year, he was also earning a yearly rent of ₹21,000 on the land he had leased to Bhushan Agro, the company that’s turned around his fortunes so unexpectedly. “I could grow only 7-8 quintals of wheat on one acre of land but, last year, I was able to grow 15 quintals per acre,” he says with obvious delight and surprise. “Thanks to the rent I was earning, I did not have to spend the year worrying all the time about my crop. I believe in Bhaiyaji now,” says Sahu.