24 Good Businesses 2012

Medicine Man

Kautilya Phytoextracts is helping small farmers supplement their     income by growing medicinal plants and breeding rabbits

VISHAL KOUL

Upendra Das, a farmer of Bihar’s Fatehpur village, walks with a swagger. And why wouldn’t he? Das broke the record for the highest income from Artemisia annua, a medicinal plant that’s an active ingredient in anti-malarial drugs — its March-June crop fetched him₹40,000 this year. “It is a 5-feet tall plant that looks similar to arhar dal,” describes Das. It also keeps insects and animals away, which makes inter-cropping possible. In Fatehpur, farmers grew potato along with Artemisia precisely for this reason.