The Agri-Culture Couple
What you sow, so you reap…literally speaking!
Chaitnya and Sawani, the brains behind Dr. Malik Farms believe every word of it. This Agri-Culture couple – Sawani is an archaeologist and a Heritage Travel curator and Chaitanya is an Engineer turned agriculturist – believe that sustainable agricultural practices are the only way for an environmentally safer future.
With a clear vision and an intention to develop their ancestral property in Pernem, Goa, Chaitanya resigned his job in 2014 and decided to chase his dream. A few baby steps and dead ends later, finally in 2016, with the support of his father, he started Dr. Malik farms. Soon a budding idea metamorphosed into a living project and today it is being promoted as an experience centre.
Chaitanya runs what he calls ‘a zero-budget natural farm’. He adopted the use of an organic manure called Jeevamrut, a traditional bio pesticide made with cow dung, cow urine (gau mutra), chickpea flour (besan), jaggery and buttermilk (optional). After fermenting it for about a week, this potion is then mixed with water and sprayed on the land at regular intervals. Rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, Jeevamrut has all the micronutrients necessary for the healthy growth of plants. Not only is it economical, the raw material can be easily sourced too.
Initially the produce was just enough for family and friends. But today they grow all the local vegetables like ridge gourd, ladies fingers, bottle gourd, chillies and regularly supply to the local markets.
“We use the land judiciously. We have vertical farming with a variety of spices and pineapple on the edges of the slopes to prevent soil erosion”, explains Chaitanya. They follow season based cropping that integrates with the traditional festival calendar.
A tour around the farm is as much a pleasure as it is educational. With a fully functional natural pool, a restaurant that serves local Goan cuisine, guided tours around the farm to learn and understand farming practices and methods, it is also a retreat for the visitors to spend the day away from the cacophony of city life. A first generation farm, Dr. Malik Farms is now open to public for educational guided tours with the idea of encouraging sustainable farming practices for a healthier future.