Most of us find it difficult to settle back into a new atmosphere after moving from one place to another, sometimes the water or food changes lead to an uneasy feeling. And sometimes the air doesn’t feel as homely, or maybe the changing climate makes it difficult to adjust.
But for this young man, the major problem upon his visits to India, while he was studying in the UK, was not water, air, or climate. It was an AVOCADO!
Harshit – The Guy Who Loved Avocado
In the year 2013 Harshit Godha joined England’s Bath University to pursue BBA. He’d visit India in his breaks and would love it back at home but the only thing he dearly missed here was the super fruit avocado. As an enthusiast for fitness, an avocado was a very important part of his dietary plan. But it was extremely difficult to find good quality avocado in India.
One time he flew back to the UK after completing his summer breaks, but it was also the disappointment of not finding avocado that made him fly back. He realized that the avocado in the UK was sourced from Israel. It struck him that if avocado can grow in Israel in such a hot climate, it can also grow in India too. In the year 2017, he decided to explore agriculture and grow avocado in India.
The destination was clear but the way to reach was still a jungle of lost roads. But he dared to enter this jungle, he started his research on the avocado industry of Israel and contacted various people from there to help him understand the techniques and methods used to grow avocado in the hot climate of Israel.
He began sending cold emails to different people. Most emails went unanswered as they were meant to be but finally, he got one revert and that was the end of his struggle and the start of a new journey.
Meet Benny, The Supporting Character Of This Success Story
Benny Weiss is a farmer from Kibbutz Maagan, he invited Harshit to his farm. He went to Israel in 2017, to have an in-depth knowledge of farming. Benny was living in Israel on a tourist visa, which meant he was not allowed to work there. There, it was difficult for him to execute excessive research work but he was determined and learned everything he could about avocado in Israel.
He took notes of all big and small things and visited all farms between 5:00 am to 10:00 am. He also conducted interviews with irrigation experts, fertilisation experts, packhouse and nursery managers. He studied all the types of avocado grown in Israel, and the process of it.
With keen observation, he noticed all the things Israeli farmers were doing compared to America, where the fruit originally grows. Benny would take him to different experts and discuss the scope of this super fruit in India. Harshit was not only focused on Israel. But was also getting observations from other countries that grow avocado like Australia, Mexico Columbia etc.
With the correct guidance provided by Benny Weiss, Harshit finally wore his farmer coat and stepped into Bhopal with the knowledge he collected from Israel to start avocado farming.
Harshit was blessed with all the luck in this project, he had a supportive family, thus on 5 acres of family land he started the project of planting avocado in India.
With help of his mentor Benny and a supplier who was going to get saplings of avocado in India, he examined the soil and water of the land and selected a patch of land where avocado would be grown.
Required changes were made, elevation of some portion of land was necessary as the farm had black cotton soil which absorbs a lot of water and during the monsoon, it can lead to water-logging. An elevated portion will ensure that the plant doesn’t get waterlogged. Risen soil will lead the water to flow sideways from the ridges and move away from the land which will fend off water accumulation.
All The Twist & Turns Faced By Avocado In India
Harshit was already at a good start but the real trouble was just about to begin. He was supposed to source avocado saplings from Israel and grow these saplings of avocado in India. For a first-timer, the process was extremely hard, he had to figure out different licenses and permits. He failed to get the saplings of avocado in the year 2019.
In 2020, the pandemic took control of the whole world, COVID-19 came crawling with counties under lockdown, and therefore with no import or export he once again failed to source the saplings of avocado.
But who can stop a determined man for long? Finally, in July 2021, he succeeded in getting his consignment of 1,800 plants. He brought 5 different varieties of avocado, there were Hass, Lamb-Hass, Pinkerton Ettinger, and Reed among others.
“Because we don’t have actual data of what works in India, we can only judge by what has worked across the world on different continents. For instance, South America, the largest producer of avocados in the world, mostly grows Hass. Their weather conditions are naturally very ideal so they don’t even need to put in a lot of work. They plant a tree and it grows well.”Harshit Godha
Israel & Kenya Based Techniques Of Farming
He experimented with growing all 5 varieties because he could not practice the techniques followed by western counties therefore experimenting was the only way out. Taking some techniques from Israel and some from Kenya the project finally reached its running stage.
“They have very machine focused and equipment heavy practices, because labour is expensive and it’s more feasible for them to use machines. India can follow the models of Kenya, Uganda, or Tanzania, They have cheap labour, similar to India.”Harshit Godha
Harshit is a guy from Gen-Z, who is utilising the technology at its best, he was documenting every step of his journey and talked about it through his social media platforms. He is professionally active on Instagram and YouTube where he is educating many others and learning new things on the way. Through his portals, many people have requested him to buy the seedling of avocado in India.
Therefore on 19 June, he ordered 4000 more young saplings of avocado for his nursery and therefore would sell avocado and saplings to people who wish to buy the plant. Other than avocado, he is also growing dragon fruits in Bhopal. He is intercropping dragon fruit with tomato and has observed success on this plantation as well.
Harshit shared that the plant has to be irrigated all-round the year
“We have to use fertilisers. You can’t just fertilise the plants once every couple of months and leave it. You have to fertilise them with each irrigation cycle, which is every alternate day or every month. These steps will lead to better results”.Harshit Godha
Harshit already has a lot of buyers in various parts of the country, varieties like the Hass and Lamb Hass need cold and humid temperature, therefore, it is good for the eastern and southern areas of the country. Punjab Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, where temperatures are high but not extremely high can successfully grow the other green avocado.
There were many problems faced by Harshit but this man was stubborn enough to eat avocado from his own farm, and today we can see the success of green supper fruits hanging on the farm of this Bhopal boy.
“When you import plants, the government makes sure you don’t accidentally import any disease, pest, or fungus along with it. So my nursery is a quarantine facility.”Harshit Godha
He has planned to utilize this time to prepare the plants and make them strong and adaptive enough as per the Indian climate before transporting them into the fields. It will take three years for the plant to bear fruits.
He has invested a sum of 50 lakh on the whole project. He has imported the sapling but the plan is to grow not only roots but to sow seeds and the plants as well. He has also decided to provide full support to all the farmers, who are planning to grow avocado in India. He will train them and provide full assistance.
Harshit shares that this indeed is a challenging task at hand, but he is thrilled that he is introducing something new to Indian farming. The journey is a roller coaster ride but it has never made him doubt his decision and ability. He is determined to bring avocado to India. Harshit is halfway through the journey and we hope he succeeds in this. Mad4India wishes all the best to Harshit and his avocado farming to see many growing days.
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