Pune doctor turns farmer to sell organic vegetables

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Megha Murkya

Pune – Organic Food and Farming is not just a “Buzzword” today. People are becoming more aware of their health and thus prefer organically produced food. Not only consumers but farmers have turned to organic farming as it requires fewer inputs and quality food. With Punekars themselves taking initiative to aware their city-mates about the benefits of organic food. And also helping the farmers get the prices they deserve for their produce.

Dr Dwarkanath Kharde (68) left his medical practice and started as an organic vegetable seller. He launched his venture, Chaitanya Organic, in 2011, under the Lions Club of Pune Ved Vasudev.

The origin of this idea began in 2008 when Dr Dwarkanath Kharde was in Nashik attending an exhibition where he met a farmer who was exporting high-quality organic grapes. He was then a retired naturopathy doctor. He was not happy by the thought that such good quality produce is been exported rather than our domestic consumers using it. So he asked the farmer “Why not give the best product to your citizens? Why should the people in your country be deprived of it, while you are growing it here?”. To which the farmer replied that he was unaware of such a platform that could yield good demand for organic fruits without facing exploitation.

Chaitanya Organic started its journey when Dr Kharde offered him the platform for selling the product. He said, “I became an organic vegetable-seller by accident, the moment the farmer entrusted me with fruits and vegetables and sent me a big chunk of his produce and challenged me. I was taken aback but was up for the challenge. Although most of it went waste in the beginning, I saw the stark difference in quality and the potential market it could have if sold at the right rate.”

He has worked for about 10 years, reaching out to several locations of the Pimpri Chinchwad area of Pune. Working with 50 farmers, he has been able to procure collaboration with the Pimpri Chinchwad Co-operative Housing Societies Federation to sell vegetables across 70 societies in the area.

He works this as a project under Lions Club of Pune Ved Vasudev, with an aim to provide pure organic food to consumers and giving farmers their due. “Being a doctor my concern is people’s health. The quality of the food we eat decides our health and good food is the best medicine,” says Dr Kharde.

While talking to Punekarnews.in , he said, ” We give farmers 70% of the produce. Which is the opposite in case of other markets. We also ensure that even if the produce is less the farmers get a minimum support price.” He added, ” We also provide for home delivery.”

Organic farming is growing across Maharashtra. So far, 6.5 lakh hectares are under organic farming in Maharashtra. Especially, North Maharashtra and parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha regions are in the lead, as far as the adoption of organic farming methods is concerned. Today, more than half a million farmers in Pune district are involved in organic farming and are using organic products on their farms on a regular basis.