Dhenkanal: Prashant Kumar Das of Anla Berini village in Dhenkanal district of Odisha is a successful entrepreneur and an inspiration for all those who are still wandering in search of employment. Prashant, a science student, and farmer, had a keen interest in plants since his childhood and thought of pursuing his passion as his profession after graduation.
At the age of 15, Prashant bought some padma (lotus), water lily, and coconut plants with the ambition to become an agri-entrepreneur. He planted the padma and water lily in a pond on his premises and the coconut plant around the pond. “Initially, the survival rate of the plants was low as I was not aware of the technique to grow them. Soon, I started reading a lot about plants and watched YouTube videos to be successful,” Prashant says.
Today, he is successful indeed. Prashant not only earns about Rs 15-20 lakh a month but is also encouraging others to take up agri-entrepreneurship for a successful future.
Prashant joined the social media platform Orkut 15 years back and made several friends in India as well as abroad who were also plant lovers like him. They exchanged ideas, experiences, and even plants to enrich themselves. “I had posted photos of padma and turmeric plants on Orkut and they drew the attention of many plant lovers from India and abroad. We communicated regularly and this helped me gain knowledge,” Prashant elaborates.
He along with seven-eight friends decided to pursue their love for plants more professionally. Consequently, they imported various species of plants from the United States and Thailand. They also tried to get plants from China, but could not owing to several obstacles.
Prashant started growing the plants at his home and pond and this time their survival rate was good. He also created hybrid species from the plants he had imported from the United States and Thailand and named them ‘Kapilas,’ Majaya,’ ‘Jagannath’, Jagannath Sikhetra’ and others. Today, these hybrid plants are in high demand, says Prashant, adding, they are very expensive and exotic varieties. “At present, I have over 200 varieties of padma and turmeric and people can grow them in their garden or roof garden with little effort.”
“Due to imports and the efforts put in growing these plants, I have priced them between Rs 3,000 and Rs 40,000. However, I am working out ways to bring down their prices to Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000. Bulk sale of these plants will help in reducing their prices. Hence, I am currently focusing on the business of marketing them.”
Prashant encourages others to grow these varieties of species in their home and says that one can earn anything between Rs 10 to 15 lakh annually by selling their produce.